By David Pye

PRESTWICH manager Craig Howarth is challenging his side to secure a famous league and cup double this season after steering the team to a first Lancashire Amateur Cup success on Friday.

The Heys Road men crushed Wigan outfit Standish St Wilfrids 5-0 at county FA headquarters in Leyland to lift the trophy after a stunning display.

Now Howarth hopes they can build on that when they return to Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division action at Hesketh Casuals on Saturday.

Reigning champions Prestwich currently sit fifth, 18 points behind leaders Old Boltonians.

But Howarth’s men have a huge seven games in hand on the table-toppers.

Howarth told The Guide: “We had a long weekend celebrating and enjoyed a couple of nights out after the cup win.

“But it was back to training last night and full focus is on the league now.

“Saturday is a big game against Hesketh for us.

“They may be bottom but have come up through the leagues alongside us and always want to get one over us.

“But the cup win can be a big boost for us and gives us confidence to build on now back in the league.”

Howarth’s team put in a brilliant display on Friday in front of a crowd in excess of 300 at the County Ground.

Any nerves they may have had were settled early after Ashford Blake burst into the box before poking the ball past the onrushing Standish goalkeeper and sliding home on the line just 12 minutes in.

They were in dreamland just four minutes later when Lee Bushell’s 16th-minute strike from an indirect free-kick inside the box found the back of the net.

Standish, currently unbeaten in the Wigan Amateur League, were struggling to contain Prestwich at times and were desperate for the half-time whistle to re-group.

However, five minutes before the break, another superb Bushell free kick flew in off the underside of the bar to double his tally and put Prestwich within touching distance of the trophy.

Standish shuffled their pack at half-time and came out in the second half with renewed purpose as they started to work Alex Blake in the Prestwich goal.

But when Sean Haslam was felled inside the area by the Standish keeper, Ashford Blake slammed home the resulting penalty to end any hopes of a fightback by the Wigan side with 30 minutes still to play.

The rout was completed when sub Chris Hudson burst into the box from the left in the 90th minute and dinked the ball over the keeper to start the celebrations.

Howarth was proud of his team’s efforts on the night in making history.

He added: “I said beforehand it was the biggest game in the club’s history and what a way to mark that with such a big win.

“I didn’t expect it to be as comfortable but the great start we had set it up perfectly for us.

“We had stressed before the match we needed to start well.

“Then the third before half time knocked the stuffing out of them.

“It was a complete team display and hard to pick a man of the match. There was not a bad player on the pitch and it was great to make a bit of history.”