ST Helens Town duly recorded their opening win of the season on Saturday, with an easy 3-0 success at bottom club FC Oswestry Town at the Park Road Stadium, a venue the team share with The New Saints, which is used for qualifying round games in the European Champions League, by Glyn Jones.

Playing on the same advanced 3G surface as Ruskin Drive, St Helens were very much at home on the pitch and could easily have won by five or six goals, such was the gulf in class between the sides and this first win will have done Lee Jenkinson’s charges the power of good as they move up three places to 18th in the Hallmark Security First Division table.

The catalyst for the win was debutant Alex Ashby, a new signing from Prescot Cables, who has recent experience with Ashton Athletic. The powerfully-built right wingman has speed to burn and Oswestry simply could not live with him. Unlucky not to score himself, he set up a number of chances, two of which led to the first two goals.

Neil Weaver, set to leave the club for pastures new with City of Liverpool FC, also had an eventful game, scoring one goal and picking up a yellow card, as well as being voted man-of-the-match by the opposition and whilst Liam Dodd and Andy Webster were solid at the back, Ant Whelan and Danny Lomax bossed the opposition in midfield.

Ashby burst down the wing in the opening minutes and, hitting the goal-line, put in a wonderful cross, which beat the defence, but nobody was there to put the ball into the net. Adam Fairchild had an early scare when an Oswestry forward clumsily caught him when challenging for the ball, but the St. Helens keeper shrugged off the knock and he and Webster combined well to snuff out a home attack on 20 minutes, Webster blocking the shot around the near post. Lomax saw his goal-bound drive tipped over the Oswestry bar by custodian Louis Mackin in the 27th minute, but the visitors took the lead six minutes later when Ashby again burst down the right wing, crossed to Shaun Brady, whose overhead kick was blocked, but Lomax was on hand to ram home the rebound.

The teams went in at the break with St. Helens 1-0 up, but within 3 minutes of the re-start, it was 2-0, Ashby’s free-kick headed into the net by Weaver, the ball looping over Mackin. Another 4 minutes further on and Mackin tipped over another great shot from Matty Smith.

Oswestry then mounted an attack and looked likely to score, but Andy Presho tackled Joe Newton at the last moment to deny the winger and save the day, then the same player burst through again, only for Fairchild to block his shot with his shoulder.

Brady wrapped up the points for St. Helens in the 59th minute when he surged past three defenders and finished well from a tight angle on the left to put the visitors 3-0 ahead and safely out of reach. Dodd should have added a fourth in the closing stages when Lomax set him up in front of goal, but the defender fired wide, then right at the death, Weaver shot hard and low, but Mackin pulled off an excellent save to deny the departing star.

This Saturday, fresh from their exit from the FA Vase, Town have a re-arranged home game against Prestwich Heys at Ruskin Drive, kick-off at 3pm. The game has been brought forward from Thursday, 5th October.