BILLINGE got their 30th anniversary celebrations underway with an excellent victory on the road.

They won 2-1 at Poynton in their opening Cheshire League Premier Division match as they made the ideal start to their bid to improve on last season’s sixth-place finish.

The Storks were indebted to a virtuoso display from keeper Tom Darbyshire, while Phil Dearden struck twice at the other end to secure the points.

Billinge were ahead just after the halfway point of the first half when Elliot Bradshaw headed a corner back across goal for Dearden to nod home from close range.

It stayed 1-0 until just after the break, when a fine Dean Curtis pass found Dearden in space and he slammed past the Poynton keeper from just inside the box.

The hosts did manage to pull one back when Andrew Simpson curled in a free kick, but the Storks sealed victory to the delight of manager Matt Potter.

“It was really tough out there with the heat, but as a team I thought we defended superbly and scored two good goals.

“At this stage of the season it is all about picking up the three points.”

Billinge began their 30th anniversary season with an excellent 2-1 victory at Poynton in the Cheshire Football League Premier Division.

Looking to improve on last season’s best-ever sixth-placed finish The Storks were made to work for the three points but in the end a man-of-the-match display from keeper Tom Darbyshire and two excellent goals were enough to see them home.

Poynton settled into the game the quicker and tested Darbyshire after just six minutes and put him under constant pressure for the next ten minutes as he pulled off some superb saves.

However Billinge soon worked their way into the game and were ahead on 24 minutes.

Craig Byrom’s low corner was sliced over the bar by a Poynton defender and from the second corner Elliot Bradshaw headed the ball back across the goal for Phil Dearden to head home from six yards.

Dearden almost made it two four minutes later when he latched onto a long ball out of defence but his first touch let him down.

On the half-hour mark it was the turn of Dearden’s fellow striker to bear down on goal; this time the first touch was perfect but he hit his shot straight at Poynton Keeper Jake O’Regan.

Billinge thought they were further ahead on 37 minutes when a great cross-field pass from Matt McCabe was headed - by Ford - into the path of Dearden who knocked it past the keeper only to see the assistant referee flagging for offside.

With the score standing at 1-0 at half-time The Storks manager Matt Potter knew that the hosts would throw everything at them and asked the players to be aware of this but also take the game to them.

It was almost an immediate success as on 47 minutes Dean Curtis’s 40-yard drive was tipped around the post for a corner.

The resultant corner came to nothing but Curtis had got the bit between his team and two minutes later a fine pass from Dearden found him in space and he slammed the ball into the net from 16 yards out to double The Storks advantage.

Billinge had further chances to increase their lead as Ford had a shot blocked when he looked likely to score and Curtis hit the side netting with a header from a corner.

However Poynton remained in the game and again tested Darbyshire from a corner before they were back in the game courtesy of a free-kick on the edge of the area.

It was in an ideal position for Poynton stalwart Andrew Simpson and he duly obliged by sending a shot into the top corner for a fine goal to halve the deficit.

Poynton were now on the front foot but the Billinge defence remained watertight even allowing Billinge substitute Dave Blakeney to go close on a breakaway on 86 minutes.

Five added minutes were played when Billinge’s players, management and supporters had their hearts in their mouths as Poynton had the ball in the back of the net only for the same assistant referee to flag for offside to deny the goal as he had done earlier in the game.

The Storks saw out the last few minutes to pick up a vital three points in their first league game of the season.

After the game manager Potter was pleased with the result saying: “It was really tough out there with the heat but as a team I thought we defended superbly, scored two good goals and at this stage of the season it is all about picking up the three points.

“We’ve a tough month ahead of us but I was encouraged with the attitude of every single one of our players.”

This Saturday (11 August 2018) last season’s champions are the visitors to Barrows Farm Kick-Off 3pm