August 4, 2014
Score: 5 - 1
Atherton Collieries came from behind at half-time to win 5-1 against Wigan Robin Park in front of a large crowd.
Monday night football returned to Alder House and a strong crowd of 197 got behind Colls in the second half to gain a second successive league win. The scoreline maybe flatters the home side as Wigan were by no means a bad side, leading 1-0 at half time and defending resolutely for large periods of the match. Manager Michael Clegg changed his line-up from Saturday's impressive 2-1 victory away at Cammell Laird, with Danny Taberner replacing Josh Harris in goal, Matty Bolandstarting ahead of Mark Truffas, Gareth Carson replaced Chris Lawton and Phil Howard started against his former side at the expense of Nathan Battersby. As on Saturday, the opening to the game was cagey from both sides as they both tried to settle and weigh each other up. It came as a blow to the home side when Wigan opened the scoring on 7 minutes, seemingly from an attack which posed little danger to the Colls back line. Captain Andy Heald went in for a challenge in the centre of the pitch, with Colls claiming for a free kick. As the ball trickled away, it found it's way to Graeme Begley who smashed the ball high into the air, over Danny Taberner and into the roof of the net after bouncing. It was a great strike from 35 yards, described on Twitter as "Beckham-esque" or "Rooney-esque" take your pick. Colls tried to build numerous attacks, but the vast majority were stopped in the centre of the pitch by a Wigan side who gave away a lot of needless free kicks. It worked though, and Atherton were unable to penetrate a defence that was on top in the first half. We will never know what was said to the Collieries players at half time, but it obviously worked. Straight from the off Colls were in the faces of the Wigan players and on 54 minutes another free kick was awarded on the edge of the box. Andy Heald was fouled as he stormed into the area; a yellow card followed before the kick was taken. Matty Boland - making his first competitive start for Colls - stepped up and curled the ball into the right hand corner past Jakub Oleksi. The match was now there for the taking for both sides, and Taberner pulled off a fantastic save in the 62nd minute to keep the scores level. From then on, the match belonged to Colls and the introduction of Truffas, Nathan Battersby and Jake Patton proved too much for a tiring Wigan side. On 74 minutes, Mark Battersby recorded his first Colls goal when he latched on to an inch perfect through ball from Brad Cooke. Racing past the Wigan defender, Battersby took one touch to set the ball in front of himself before lofting it over the advancing Oleksi. True team spirit was shown as every Colls player bar the goalkeeper raced down the pitch to celebrate with Battersby at the far corner flag. Five minutes later and Colls found themselves 3-1 in front. A corner was whipped in with pace from the left, with Matty Boland apparently getting the final touch to send it into the back of the net. If there is a North West Counties dubious goals panel we'll let them decide. Colls were now rampant, and Truffas went within inches of making it 4-1 just moments later. He bombed down the left hand side and curled the ball towards the back corner. Fortunately, the home side didn't have to wait too long to score another and it came through Mark Battersby. The striker picked the ball up 25 yards from goal, and hammered it high into the net leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. With added time signalled, Colls went on the attack again and Truffas scored his second in as many matches. Mark Battersby fed a ball across the face of goal and Truffas finished from close range with the outside of his foot. It was a fantastic second half performance and one that deserved the three points, despite Wigan looking strong for the first half. Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, James Brooks, Andy Heald (J. Patton), Matthew Grimshaw, Gareth Carson, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Phil Howard (N. Battersby), M. Battersby, Boland (Truffas) - Substitutes: Josh Harris, Chris Lawton, Jake Patton, Nathan Battersby, Mark Truffas Wigan Robin Park: Jakub Oleksi, James Winsor, James Banawich, Christopher Williams, Christopher Harris, Graeme Begley, David Sargent, Stephen Young, Scott Thomas, Alex Neil, Grant Whitfield -Substitutes: Daniel Davies, Lee Green, Scott Rafferty, Sam Rimmer, Joseph Newbold Match report by Joseph Gibbons