MANAGER James Smith returned to the dugout for Hesketh Bank’s Lancashire Amateur Shield third round tie at home to Golborne Sports from Warrington after missing last week’s league defeat at home to Garstang.
In front of yet another decent sized crowd and with the Station Road pitch looking in excellent condition the visitors opened the scoring after just five minutes when a long clearance from their keeper was not dealt with by Hesketh Bank’s central defenders and Golborne’s centre-forward sent a spectacular volley from 25 yards flying into the roof of the net.
Stunned for a few minutes, Hesketh Bank took a while to get into their normal passing game but after 10 minutes skipper Dan Birkby created their first real chance turning sharply before shooting low but the visitors’ keeper reacted well to block the goal-bound effort.
A minute later, he was picking the ball out of the net as Birkby’s next effort found its way into the corner for the equaliser.
Golborne continued to threaten and had a couple of opportunities to regain the lead; however on the half-hour Ben Goodson crossed from wide on the right and was met at the far post by Chris Connolly who headed home.
On the stroke of half-time a through-ball once more caused problems at the back and keeper Paul Sergeant came rushing from his goal and mistimed his challenge on Golborne’s centre-forward. This gave the referee no option but to award a penalty.
The centre-forward dusted himself down and slotted home the spot-kick to send the teams in at half-time all-square and with everything to play for.
Boss Smith was obviously not happy with the opening half performance and immediately made two changes at the interval with Smethurst and Cox replacing Connolly and Adam Birkby.
The second period took a while to get going and gradually the home side began to make inroads.
Richard Burns headed wide on 57 minutes before Dan Birkby restored the lead chesting home from close range from a driven cross from Smethurst after 65 minutes.
Ten minutes later he turned smartly inside the box to complete his third hat-trick in this competition already this season and his 22nd goal in total to make the score 4-2.
Golborne refused to give up and with 10 minutes remaining pulled a goal back from a corner when their number five found himself unmarked to head home.
Despite this, the Hesketh Bank defence held firm for the remainder of the game to ensure a place in the quarter-finals which will be on November 17 at home to Premier Division side Eagley (kick off 2pm).
Before then, it is back to league action and a long trip to Barrow to face Hawcoat Park on Saturday.
The week after they entertain Blackburn side Mill Hill St Peter’s at the Centenary Sports Ground. All matches now kick off at 2pm until February.
FOR further details check out the website www.heskethbankafc.co.uk