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Monday, 22 December 2014

Millom out to beat West Lancs drop

MILLOM captain Stuart Pattinson is confident his side can beat the drop.

The Devonshire Road outfit sit fourth-bottom of West Lancs Division One, just two points – and two places – above the relegation zone.

With the bottom five sides separated by only six points, the scrap for survival looks set to go to the wire, with both Millom and basement-dwellers Turton having games in hand over Hawocat Park, Mill Hill St Peters and Wyre Villa.

Midfielder Pattinson, whose younger brothers Danny and Jamie also play in Millom’s first team, said: “I’m confident we will be fine. It seems to be a regular thing for us, but we always manage to pull away from danger.

“We have up to three or four games in hand on some of the other teams and, though the table doesn’t make great reading, hopefully we can use those games in hand to push our way upwards.

Millom have won just three of their 13 league games so far and have conceded 53 goals – the most in Division One.

The last of those three victories came a fortnight ago when a goal from midfielder Danny Pattinson and a penalty courtesy of striker Phil Edmondson led Millom to a 2-1 home triumph over fifth-placed Bac/Ee/Springfields.

Millom, managed by Michael Betteridge, were without a fixture last weekend, but are back in action tomorrow when they travel to the Ribble Valley to play against title favourites Longridge.

They are one of only two teams in the three-tier West Lancs set-up (the others are Division Two leaders Ambleside United) yet to taste a league defeat this season – though they were beaten 3-2 by Furness Rovers in the President’s Cup first round last weekend.

If Millom are to emulate Rovers, they will have to do something they’ve failed to do this term – win on the road. So far this season, their six league away trips have brought just a solitary point – a 2-2 draw at Crooklands three-and-a-half months ago.

Pattinson said: “We have struggled to get a settled side out all season and have had to make changes every week.

“That’s not helped us, but we got a good win over Bac/Ee/Springfields in our last game after a great team performance.

“Longridge are flying but if we can take the same side that played a fortnight ago then we could do well. It will, as it has done all season, depend on player availability.”

As well as experienced heads like Carl Waters and Mike Brown, Millom also have an exciting crop of youngsters such as Jamie Bickerdike, Danny Morrow, and Paul O’Callaghan, who have made an impact recently.

Pattinson added: “The young lads are doing really well. What we need now is a settled side and a bit luck.”

Second-bottom Hawcoat Park are also fighting for their Division One future.

They have played four more games than Millom and have just nine matches in total left to go.

Tomorrow, Hawcoat host Mill Hill St Peters in a relegation six-pointer.

Holding a four-point cushion above the bottom-five teams are Furness Rovers, who entertain Hesketh Bank.

Sixth-placed Crooklands Casuals will be favourites to beat struggling Turton at Longlands Park, while Dalton United go to promotion-chasing rivals Norcross and Warbreck.

In the Premier Division, sixth-placed Vickerstown, who bounced back to form with an excellent 4-2 win at Fulwood Amateurs last weekend thanks to goals from Danny Keenan (2), Josh Gay and Sean Paterson, host Burnley United.

There is a local derby in Division Two, with GSK Ulvertson Rangers entertaining Walney Island. The duo fill the bottom two places in the table, with Walney knowing a win would see them leapfrog above their rivals.

Walney manager Steve McCullough said: “We should have a full-strength squad tomorrow. The lads are more confident after going four games undefeated over the Christmas period.

“The first half of the season was a struggle as we bedded in some new players and played most of the top teams. It will be interesting to see how far we have come when we play Ulverston.

“I’m sure Ulverston will be looking for three valuable points as well, so it will be a typical local derby with two young squads of players going for victory.”

Also in Division Two, Furness Cavaliers, Askam United and Ambleside United all face road trips tomorrow.

Elsewhere, mid-table Holker Old Boys, who are without a win in their last six games, entertain leaders Abbey Hey in North West Counties Division One.

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