RADCLIFFE brushed aside promotion rivals Atherton Collieries in a 2-0 win at the Neuven Stadium last Saturday.

The result puts Boro third in the table, two points behind Atherton, who were replaced in top spot by Runcorn Linnets.

Colls had a first-minute chance in a feisty game. James Kirby’s shot was blocked with Ben Hardcastle volleying the rebound wide.

Boro then went close when Matt Crothers’ corner was met by Lewis Lacy but he could only send his header wide of the post.

Radcliffe did have success from another Crothers corner, with Callum Grogan rising highest to head Boro into the lead.

The away side went in search of an equaliser and nearly found it when Hardcastle’s shot across goal was cleared as far as Jordan Cover whose overhead kick cleared the bar.

Boro nearly doubled their lead midway through the half, Elliott Rokka curling an audacious effort towards the top corner but Colls keeper Greg Hartley was equal to it with an incredible save.

After Kirby’s glancing header had passed Ollie Martin’s post by inches, Hardcastle fired into the side-netting and the half ended with Boro 1-0 up.

Radcliffe doubled their lead 20 minutes into the second half when Tunde Owolabi broke through the defence, collected Ben Wharton’s flick-on and drilled his finish into the bottom corner.

Rick Smith fired wide for Radcliffe and Hardcastle again went close for the visitors.

But it was Boro who came closer to another goal, Owolabi putting his effort across the face of goal and Crothers’ well-placed shot being saved by Hartley.

They had done enough, however to take the three points and open up the title race.

Boro bowed out of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy on Tuesday night, losing their quarter-final at Ashton Athletic.

Owolabi and Grogan were Radcliffe’s scorers in a 4-2 defeat.