BILLINGE picked up their first win of the season as they beat Poynton 1-0 in a close encounter at Barrows Farm on Saturday.

The Storks looked comfortable throughout the game and unlikely to concede - it was just a question on whether they could score.

As it was it took a “worldie” from Liam Thomas on 73 minutes to settle the match.

Thomas latched onto a long ball from player-manager Wayne Wardle, controlled the ball with his first touch, turned his defender and unleashed an unstoppable volley from 22 yards.

It was a fitting way to win a match that hopefully can kick-start The Storks season.

The game started with a bang as Billinge had claims for a penalty in the second minute when a Poynton defender handled the ball.

Unfortunately for The Storks referee Ben Sutcliffe - who was otherwise excellent - deemed the offence to be outside the area.

Poynton responded well as Sam Heaton should have done better with an unchallenged header and then Luke Cotton bought a brilliant save out of Billinge custodian Kieran Halliday.

On 25 minutes James Duke headed a Thomas free-kick into the danger area but the Poynton keeper Jake Goodjall scrambled it away from the onrushing Richie Allen.

However, five minutes before half-time Billinge were almost ahead.

Great work from John Humphreys set up Thomas whose rasping shot was touched around the post by Goodhall.

Then from the resultant corner Thomas’s 25-yard rocket came back off the bar.

The second period followed the same pattern with Billinge looking the more likely side to score.

In the 62nd minute Ellis O’Keefe’s 36-yard shot brought out another superb save from Goodhall and then on 68 minutes Adam Idowu found himself through on goal but the keeper saved his left-footed effort.

Five minutes later and The Storks were ahead.

It was then just a case of seeing out the last 17 minutes and seven minutes additional time of which they did with little problem leaving Wardle a relieved man saying: “I’m happy to get the first win under our belts but we must not get complacent and the focus is now on working hard in training and focusing on next week’s visit to Crewe.

The man-of-the-match award sponsored by Brothers Burgers went to Liam Thomas for both his wonderful finish and all-round excellent game.