A FIRST-HALF hat-trick from David Short helped Winsford United to victory over second placed Skelmersdale United.

Following the previous Monday’s close defeat to league leaders Macclesfield, Winsford returned to the Barton Stadium with second placed Skelmersdale United presenting another big challenge.

This time Blues bagged a 3-2 win and got off to a dream start inside the opening 15 minutes.

Having successfully defended back-to-back corners Winsford were able to counter attack through Joe Duckworth and Oliver McDonough but the visitors were able to block the shot for a corner.

From the resulting corner Danny Boden was hauled down in the area and Short stepped up to make no mistake from the spot.

Five minutes later it was two for Winsford and a second for Short. Duckworth’s shot was blocked but the ball fell kindly to the Blues number nine.

In the final 10 minutes of the half, it got it even better for the hosts.

Good work by Duckworth and McDonough saw the latter find Short in the middle whose effort went under the goalkeeper and into the back of the net to secure his hat-trick.

Skelmersdale came back into the game in the second half but were unable to create any goalscoring opportunities until the hour mark.

Tom Croughan saw the ball fall to him inside the area but with the goal at his mercy he put his effort wide.

The visitors did pull a goal back with 20 minutes remaining.

A foul in the area allowed Croughan to reduce the deficit from the spot.

A superb stoppage time free-kick from Kenneth Strickland created a nervy finish but Blues held on for a deserved victory.

Winsford are back in action at the Barton Stadium on Wednesday at home to Runcorn Linnets in the second round of the Cheshire Senior Cup.