BILLINGE'S Cheshire League game against Altrincham Reserves at Barrows Farm on Saturday finished goalless as both teams eased their way into the season.

With both sides having a short pre-season it was perhaps unsurprising that it was a scrappy affair that produced few chances with both defences holding sway.

For The Storks midfielders Marcos Flores and Liam Fitzgerald both went close with long-range efforts while at the back Brad Higgins was awarded the man-of-the match for an assured performance on his debut.

If the game had been a midfield battle for most of the ninety the last ten minutes belonged to the clarets as substitute Aaron Bowen caused havoc in the Alty defence and maybe should have been awarded a penalty, Fitzgerald went mighty close with a left-footed thunderbolt from 30 yards and Rob Lamont almost forced the ball home in an almighty scramble.

However it finished 0-0 with Billinge player-manager Wayne Wardle - who had an excellent game at the back - saying: "It wasn’t pretty from The Storks but when you’ve got a brand new team - and you didn’t have a side four weeks ago - I’m over the moon."

The bad news for Billinge was a serious injury to wing back Liam Thomas in the 14th minute.

The wing-back fell heavily resulting in ligament damage to his collarbone for the talented youngster.

The Storks are back in action next Saturday when they travel to Broadheath Central for a 2pm kick-off.

St Helens Town 2-5 Atherton LR

Town got the 2021/22 season off to a losing start on Saturday as they fell to defeat against an Atherton LR side who were more clinical than their hosts.

The 101 in attendance didn’t have to wait long for the first goal of the game and it was the visitors who opened their account. The lively frontman Connor Comber was allowed too much space and he was able to fire home from outside the box.

Liam Diggle had a good chance to level matters midway through the half but he couldn’t guide his effort past Jack Buckley in the visitors goal. Comber was proving to be a handful for the Town defence and he doubled the lead on 26 minutes with a neat turn and shot in the box.

The hosts got caught with a classic counter attack when pushing to reduce the arrears and Luke Nicholls was able to net LR’s third. Town got themselves on the board just before the interval after good work centrally by Sam Hughes the ball was fed to Josh Clegg on the right flank who picked out Joel Douglas in the 6 yard box and he was able to prod home from close range.

A period of Town dominance at the start of the second half saw a good penalty claim ignored after Ste Brown was felled in the box and several other chance not taken before the visitors netted a fourth through Nicholls against the run of play.

Liam Diggle headed home a Paul Cliff corner on 83 minutes to reduce the arrears but again with Town pressing the visitors picked their moment well and added a fifth to extinguish any chance of a comeback.

Next up for Town is “El Glassico” against Pilkington this coming Saturday, 7th August with a 3pm kick off, tickets are still available on Skiddle or you can pay on the gate with admission being £5 Adults, £3 Concessions & £1 U16’s.