THE first game of 2022 saw St Helens Town back at Ruskin Drive for a home fixture against Cumbrian side Cleator Moor Celtic.

With a number of other North West Counties games being called off due to waterlogged pitches, Town took to the Ruskin 4G pitch hoping to gain three valuable points in a bid to help revive a troubled season for the Blues.

The game was only a few minutes in when Town’s young star Jamie Apperley collided with Cleator’s keeper resulting in a broken nose, concussion and requiring hospital treatment. Dale Korie-Butler came in off the bench to replace the injured Apperley.

It was the visitors who were first to find the back of the net when Callum Birdsall put the Cumbrians a goal up on the 16 minute. Town’s leading goal scorer Elliott Hughes equalised just six minutes later but the joy was short lived as Cleator’s Jack Hunter put the visitors back in front on the 25 minute.

Things got even worse as the men from Cumbria scored their third goal right at the end of the first half to go 3-1 up at the break.

A big second performance was required from Town, and they came out throwing everything at the visitors. This pressure was instantly rewarded as the prolific Elliott Hughes scored his second of the afternoon on the 47 minute to pull the score back to 2-3.

Town continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded again on the 73 minute when Hughes bagged his hat-trick. This was followed up just a minute later when defender Colyfa Kamara put the home side in the lead. With the score now at 4-3 Town had to hold on for the three points.

Unfortunately again for Town poor defending led to two more goals from Cleator and the game ended 4-5 with the Cumbrians taking the points.

Town are at home to Ilkley Town, 3PM, Saturday 15 January, at Ruskin Park, St Helens.