Norton United 4 Barnoldswick Town 0
It’s all change at Barnoldswick Town with former player-manager Stewart Airdrie charged with reviving their Premier Division fortunes.
Airdrie was brought in on Thursday after the club’s committee decided to part company with the management trio of Kevin Richardson, Paul Fildes and Chris Price.
His first game on Saturday saw Town suffer their sixth-successive away defeat, but he will be hoping for better luck when his side tackle West Didsbury and Chorlton at the Silentnight Stadium on Saturday.
The new manager, who was in joint charge with Ben Hall and Richardson when Town climbed into the Premier Division, has already attracted a few familiar faces back to the club.
Former players Shaun Airey, Carl Ellerton and Kieran Lee were all in the team that faced Norton.
With other players believed to be heading back to Town, Airdrie will be optimistic that he has a squad big enough to cope with the club’s biggest problem this season, unavilability.
Harry Thompson, Neil Stans-field and Chris Ridehalgh were all missing at Norton on a day when a huge thunderstorm, lightening and hail.
The ground was soon saturated and Norton officials borrowed a cover from a nearby cricket pitch to try and protect part of the playing surface.
The match started poorly for Town as the rain continued to beat down and they went a goal behind in the second minute.
It was an unfortunate goal as the ball got stuck in the mud as Bill Williams was going to clear throwing him off balance.
Town’s Paul Walker slid in to try and prevent Norton’s Lee Cropper from capitalising but brought him down.
Norton Skipper Richard Smith stepped up to take the free kick and sent it arcing over the wall and past the outstretched hand of keeper Lyle Davy for the opening goal.
Town’s first chance came after ten minutes.
Sam Howell broke clear down the Norton and right in a great cross which Mark Threlfall headed just over the bar.
Lee, who was working hard up and down the Norton right, saw his shot slip from the grasp of Daniel Roberts, but the keeper quickly pounced on the loose ball.
Norton nearly went further ahead on the half hour mark.
Niall Green’s header went just go over Davy’s bar.
Five minutes before half-time disaster struck again for Town.
The ball seemed to get stuck in the mud and Walker could only knock the ball into the path of Leigh Skellern who easily scored from eight yards out.
Town fell further behind after 57 minutes when a cross from out wide on the Town left flank deceived Davy.
The wind had just strengthened somewhat which appeared to make the ball swirl about as it came across.
Town made their first substitution after 65 minutes, Liam Blades making way for Ellerton, while Sam Reeves replaced Lee ten minutes later.
Although Town’s approach play was neat, in the last third they lacked penetration giving Roberts an easy afternoon between the posts.
With a minute left, Green completed the scoring to cap a miserable afternoon for Town.