Football: Pool Dole close to pulling off cup shock
POOL Dole's backs-to-the-wall efforts came within 10 minutes of pulling off a major Bill Slater League Cup shock at The Bradeley.
The Division One side, formerly The Potter, were massive underdogs against the old Knave of Clubs side, The Bradeley.
But Kyle Hughes gave the Dole the lead midway through the second half against the run of play and it seemed joint-managers Matt Bridgett and Neil Cooper's tactical master-plan was going to come good.
Pool switched to five at the back as they hung on to their advantage, but John Deakin finally found a way through in the 80th minute.
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And the visitors were soon behind when left-back Chris Minshull knocked a cross past his own keeper.
The visitors had to go gung-ho in search of a leveller and Godfrey Johnson caught them on the break to round off the scoring at 3-1.
But secretary Minshull says his team can take pride in the way they played against one of the competition favourites.
And he reckons similar commitment over the next few months should help Pool challenge for promotion to the top flight.
He said: "We knew they were the Knave of Clubs in all but name and we would have to defend for our lives and play on the counter.
"Kyle's goal was against the run of play and they threw everything at us after that to get back into it, going three up front.
"We couldn't quite keep them out in the end, but we came off the pitch talking about the positives.
"It's early days this season, but it's looking promising. We hope to be up there challenging to win the league."
Gardeners Arms launched their defence of their Bill Slater crown with a 4-1 win at Mow Cop Athletic.
Tom Madden got two, including one from the spot, to add to goals from Sean Mountford and Nathan Eaves.
Division Four Birches Head Hotel's strength at set pieces showed as they stormed to a 5-3 win over Division Three leaders AFC Clayton.
Phillip Holdcroft (2), Aaron Hikin, Lee Jewess and Paul Rooney were on the scoresheet for Hotel.
Bignall End thumped Canal Tavern 8-1, with Daniel Ruane (2) leading the way.
Goals from Tom Nixon and Mike Smith saw Furlong FC beat Alsager Arms 2-0.
Tom Ostrowski hit two as Biddulph Moor Wanderers beat Premier Division rivals Cobridge Community 5-2.
Adam Phillips's strike was enough for AFC Crompos to secure a win over KC Scamblers.
Four-goal Frankie Hughes starred as Fegg Hayes AFC thrashed Brown Edge 7-1 and Cuckoo beat Weathervane by the same scoreline thanks in large to Matthew Clarke's hat-trick.
Tom Moores and Andrew White hit braces as Castle Borough beat Foaming Quart 6-2, while Vodafone came from two behind to beat Loggerheads 3-2. Sean Nixon, Simon Austin and Andrew Robinson helped turn the game on its head.
Trentham Tavern were 4-1 winners at Meir Knocks with Colin Fletcher getting a brace and Anthony Walton netted two in White Lion's 6-2 win over Market St Queens.
Plaza hammered Newchapel Rangers 8-0 with doubles from Shane Allen, Liam Shaugnessy and Rob MacAskill. Kieron Ball's hat-trick saw Biddulph FC beat The Wagon 3-1.
Seventeen-year-old Jordan Goldstraw hit four in Biddulph Arms's 5-2 win at Silver Birch while Stoke Rovers let a three-goal lead slip to lose 5-4 to Northwood Merx after extra-time.
Matt Clowes's hat-trick saw AFC Corner Pin finally overcome Royal Oak 5-3 and Miners Arms beat Staff of Life 5-2.