North West Counties Premier Division

Barnoldswick Town 1

Whitchurch Alport 3

A STUNNING second-half hat-trick from striker Alex Hughes earned Alport a precious three points in East Lancashire.

It also gave the Reds their first league double as a Premier Division club, adding to their 2-0 triumph at Yockings Park back in October.

It would have been hard to pick a winner at the halfway stage with the game deadlocked, but Alport gave an assured performance in the second half and ran out worthy winners.

Zac Dale was the early tormentor as far as Alport were concerned, putting in a couple of dangerous crosses as well as going close with an overhead kick as the hosts started brightly.

It was the visitors who had the best chance when a Ricky Bridge corner found Dan Skelton well placed only for the midfielder to get his header all wrong.

Dale’s angled drive was then parried onto an upright by Parton on 28 minutes and the teams went in level.

When the second half resumed, it was clear that Alport weren’t in any mood to play second fiddle to a side sitting comfortably in the table.

Hughes scored the first of his three with a fantastic finish having beaten the offside trap. The strike appeared to lift the world’s weight off Hughes’ shoulders and soon after he made it two.

Sean Griffiths was upended in full flight and from the free kick just outside the area, Hughes’ strike took a deflection before finding the net.

And before the away supporters had finished cheering, debutant Dylan Bath slipped the buoyant Hughes clean through with only the goalkeeper to beat, and he made no mistake in completing his hat-trick.

A great stop by Parton was the highlight of the second half until a consolation goal for the home team through Shaun Airey in the 93rd minute.

On Saturday Alport face tough opposition when they host second-placed in-form side Bootle.