As results in the “first win for new management team” canon go, this wasn’t too bad at all.
An imperious display with a scoreline that was a fair reflection; Abbey Hulton would have had no complaints whatsoever if it would have been more emphatic.
It was a case of one chance after another, with the first coming on the 10th minute mark when Paul Sunderland beat the advancing keeper and managed to stab the ball beyond him; alas it didn’t have enough gas to go over the line and was cleared.
No matter. Just one minute later we took the lead.
In the Abbey Hulton half Paul Sunderland turned and planted a lovely though ball into the path of Patrick Davin who shook off the attentions of a defender and stroked home from the edge of the area.
The returning Justin Pickering then got in on the action twice within the space of as many minutes.
He curled a shot inches wide and then he, like Paul Sunderland before him, managed to poke the ball beyond an advancing keeper; yet again this effort was to bear no fruit as Ben Brooks just couldn’t get to the ball in time to guide it home.
Abbey Hulton’s best period arguably came towards the end of that first half as Ollie Hatfield-Banton had to be on-hand to make two blocks when it looked as though the visitors were going to hurt us.
Within the opening ten minutes of the second half we had effectively put the match to bed.
In the opening minute Ben Brooks had managed to get his head to a low cross but the keeper somehow managed to flap it away with a Patrick Davin brace then giving us a three-goal advantage.
The first of those - and his second of the game - came on 53 minutes from a corner when he gathered the ball on the far side of the area; with his back to goal he managed to turn and strike home with it taking a deflection on its way in.
His hat-trick came three minutes later.
Substitute Thomas Hendley broke out of defence, drove forward and placed a through ball for Patrick to advance on goal, draw the keeper and coolly round him before slotting home.
After an Abbey Hulton header had hit the post on the hour mark there was a glut of opportunities for us to stretch our lead even further.
Justin Pickering found himself clean through and took his shot (perhaps too) early with the keeper parrying; the loose ball fell kindly for Justin again but he put it wide.
Ben Brooks was then through on goal but put his effort high and wide with Patrick Davin then unmarked in the box and uncharacteristically misjudging his shot.
Ben Brooks had another close-range effort blocked by the keeper before Tokia Russell burst clear into the area only for a heavy touch to let him down.
With three minutes remaining we got the fourth goal we deserved. Substitute Jake Phelan travelled down the right before feeding the ball inside for Andrew Lunt to check, eye up a shot and drill home from the edge of the area.
The only shame of the day was that Danny Whiting didn’t go home with a clean sheet. He had made an excellent point-blank stop on 88 minutes only for a penalty to beat him in the third minute of stoppage time for Abbey Hulton’s consolation.
After a run of 1 win in 22 matches we’re now on one of 1 defeat in our last 6 in all competitions.
What a difference a month can make in football.
TEAM: Whiting, Machado Le Gal, Hamzat, Hatfield-Banton, Gaskin, Chappell (Hendley), Pickering (Phelan), Lunt, Davin, Sunderland (Russell), Brooks. SUBS: Phelan, Blain (gk), Russell, Hendley, Johnson.