Morris is the driving force in Villa victory

Greg Brickell holds off a challenge against Blackpool Wren Rovers

Greg Brickell holds off a challenge against Blackpool Wren Rovers

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A solitary strike from the versatile Dan Morris saw Mark McDonnell’s Euxton Villa claim a fine victory against Crooklands Casuals.

Morris’ second-minute strike was the difference between the sides and Villa sit second in the West Lancashire Premier Division table with six points from a possible nine.

Crooklands are a side Villa rarely have success against.

But Villa hit the ground running, settling quickly and taking the lead instantly.

Mark Swift whipped in a corner and leaping above everybody was the impressive Ryan Thompson, who saw his header saved only for the rebound to fall at the feet of Morris, who made no mistake lashing the ball home.

The windy conditions played a big part in the shape of the game, and although the home side enjoyed equal share of the ball, Thompson, Lee McKenna and Rick Wood read the play well and denied the forwards the opportunity of running on to anything played long.

Despite the blustery conditions, Villa looked to keep the ball on the floor with forwards Jordan Horner and Dan Birkby constantly supplied by Swift and Morris.

Shaun Gibbs was the more tested of the two keepers however, saving very well mid way through the half from a wind-affected shot from distance and again minutes later gathering the ball well into his midriff from a similar effort.

Villa almost doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark but Horner saw an effort tipped round the post.

The visitors were boosted by the wind in the second half, but Crooklands used their experience well and had chance to level.

Dave Mansergh used all his experience to hold the ball up which lured Wood into a silly tackle and the referee had no other option but to point to the spot.

However, it wasn’t to be Crooklands’ day as the spot kick rattled back off the

crossbar.

Buoyed by the let-off, Villa enjoyed their best spell of the half, and the Crooklands keeper executed a brilliant save from a Horner stinging shot, and Thompson tried to utilise the breeze with a forty yard lob, but the keeper read his intention and back peddled in time to catch.

The rest of the half petered out with Villa standing firm and defending everything that was thrown at them and they held on for the win.

n Coppull United slumped to their third defeat in as many games when losing 1-0 against Blackpool Wren Rovers.

The game looked to be heading for a draw until Rovers’ Steve Creelman slotted past Gavin King to give his side the three points.

Both sides had chances to win the game earlier in the match but both keepers stood firm.

n Andy Westwell’s Charnock Richard were without a game due to Norcross and Warbreck’s recent withdrawal from the league.

Tonight, Tuesday, Euxton Villa host Coppull United at 6.30pm.

And on Wednesday,

Charnock Richard travel to Burnley United.