A BRACE by Zack Dale helped Barnoldswick secure all three points in a 3-0 win at Ashton Athletic on Saturday.

Dale's two goals gives him 40 for the season and he is locked in a battle with Charnock Richard's Carl Grimshaw for top goal scorer in the North West Counties League this season. Grimshaw also has 40 for the season after he scored one in a 1-1 draw against 1874 Northwich on Saturday and scored a brace in Charnock Richard's 5-2 mauling of Squires Gate on Monday.

It will all be decided on Saturday when Barnoldswick Town host bottom of the table Abbey Hey, while Charnock Richard are at home to Whitchurch Alport.

In the match against Ashton Athletic, Ethan Kershaw got Town off to a cracking start, scoring after three minutes to put the visitors 3-0 up.

Town keeper Ryan Livesey made some great saves to keep the Barnoldswick lead 1-0 at half-time.

A scintillating performance by hat-trick hero Nathan Taylforth gave Barnoldswick Town (EL) a 4-2 home win against Rimington on Saturday.

Both teams started well on a very dry and bumpy pitch, but it was Town who drew first blood when Bailey Coates crossed into the six-yard box and found Chris Richardson. Richardson's initial shot was saved by keeper Graham Kershaw, but the rebound fell to Richardson who put the ball away for the opener.

There was a scare for Town after 32 minutes when Rimington player Matt Bagot scored but was ruled offside.

Town then doubled their lead on 43 minutes when Taylforth was brought down inside the penalty area. Taylforth took the penalty himself and hammered it past Kershaw.

There was still time for Dominic Walker in the Town goal to make a fantastic save from a free-kick, diving up left to tip the ball onto the top of the angle of bar and post for a corner.

The visitors started the 2nd half well and pulled a goal back on 54 minutes through Martin Seedall.

Town went further ahead after 67 minutes when James Butler flicked the ball on to Taylforth, who scored easily past Kershaw.

Then with eight minutes to go, Taylforth blazed one over the bar. However, two minutes later he bagged his hat-trick by taking the ball on from the edge of the penalty area before putting it past Kershaw.

Four minutes into injury time, the visitors pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Bagot after Taylforth had brought an attacker down in the penalty area.