By Marc Higginson
FC United drew first blood ahead of tomorrow's Presidents Cup final as they kept alive their slim hopes of a third successive title with victory over local rivals Radcliffe Borough.
First-half goals from Jamie Rothen and Chris Baguley cut the gap on leaders Bradford PA, who have played a game less, to four points at the top of UniBond League Division One North.
The result was harsh on Boro, who saw Griff Jones hit the bar, a Steve Howson header cleared off the line and FC goalkeeper Sam Ashton make five crucial saves.
Both teams rested players with the showdown at the Tameside Stadium in mind, but the second-half introduction of FC's prolific strike duo Rory Patterson and Stuart Rudd helped the visitors all but guarantee themselves a place in the play-offs with three games left.
Atherton LR boss Stuart Humphreys is still searching for his first win in charge after watching his struggling side go down 2-1 against Maine Road in North West Counties League Division One.
Chris Quirk grabbed a 16th-minute opener for second-bottom Rovers, but the visitors struck twice after the break to seal the points.
10:25pm Tuesday 15th April 2008