Keiron Lee netted twice as Town won an entertaining contest at the Silentnight Beds Stadium on Saturday, beating Abbey Hey 3-1.
Abbey Hey started the better in blustery conditions, but Town took the lead after seven minutes, as Lee checked onto his left foot and his cross swung violently on the wind and dropped over Abbey keeper John Mcllwaine into the net.
Another Lee cross to the far post saw player-boss Paul Fildes unmarked at the far post, but his header hit the angle, bouncing to safety.
Abbey were awarded a penalty on the quarter hour mark, after a clumsy challenge by Kieron Fletcher on striker Kwame Barnett, but Pickering’s spot kick was saved by 17-year-old Lyle Davy to his left, with the help of the post.
Harry Thompson was forced off with a bruised foot, ruling him out for around a month, but substitute Paul Cruz immediately saw an effort cleared off the line.
Just on the stroke of halftime Abbey captain Paul Smith brought a great diving save from Davy, but Town doubled their lead as another cross from Lee ended up at the feet of Neil Stansfield, and his shot found the far corner via a post.
Davy smothered a Smith chance on the hour, before Lee was sent clear, and he opened his body up and sent a left foot shot curling into the bottom corner to put Town 3-0 up.
A minute later Abbey won a free kick just outside the area, and as the wall was being lined up, Pickering calmly slotted the ball into the far corner with Davy looking on.
Davy produced a number of superb stops to preserve the two-goal lead, however, to cap a top-class performance.
Town’s West Riding Cup tie at home to Albion Sports on Tuesday was off due to a waterlogged pitch. On Saturday Town are at Winsford United before Tuesday’s home derby with Colne.