January 10, 2015
Score: 0 - 5
The Collieries came up against mid-table Widnes on Saturday as they made the journey to their Select Security Stadium.
Collieries last came up against Widnes in August when a sun soaked crowd of 82 turned out to watch a 3-0 win for the Collieries. Thanks to the 3G pitch the Select Security Stadium hosts the game was never in doubt however, kick off was moved forward an hour so floodlights didn’t have to be used. The game back on the 23rd August was a close encounter with the Colls taking the lead on ten minutes; Matty Boland threaded the ball through for Kristian Holt who easily fired the ball into the back of the net. Atherton got their second on 22 minutes thanks to Brad Cooke, pinball in the penalty area from a corner resulted in Cooke getting to the ball first and placing the ball past the onrushing keeper. Thanks to Cooke, 3-0 was the score line late in the second half, a floated corner was sent flying into the Widnes box for Cooke to tap in and ensure the three points. Despite the artificial pitch being in fine condition, playing conditions for this encounter were difficult thanks to high and heavy winds blowing through the 13,350 all seated stadium. However, the conditions failed to prevent what was another fine Collieries win thanks to two goals from Mark Battersby and the other goals coming from Brad Cooke, Matt Grimshaw and Ben Hardcastle. The Colls made a sublime start to the game passing the ball around with purpose and with confidence, taking the lead with only a minute on the scoreboard. Mark Battersby capitalised on a spillage from goalkeeper David Nevitt following on from Kristian Holt’s original shot. Battersby ran into the area, almost predicting what it was the goalkeeper was going to do, and from the penalty spot, controlled and curled the ball around the keeper. Arguably, the easiest goal Battersby will score this season. In the space of two minutes, Atherton could have had three goals to their favour. Seven minutes in, the ball was knocked down to Holt, Holt fired just wide of the post from the edge of the area. A minute later and, from a similar position, the ball was played through to Battersby after Nevitt’s goal kick was won by the Collieries’ midfield; Battersby’s resulting shot was straight at Nevitt. Chance after chance came and went, on twelve minutes, James Brooks played an inviting ball into the area, Brooks passed the ball across the face of goal but, no one was able to get a touch on it. Following a Widnes red card on 14 minutes (Matthew Lennon the man sent off for a last man challenge), Mark Truffas stepped up to take the resulting free kick, however it was curled just wide of the post. Twenty one minutes, midfielder Josh Messer fired just wide of the goal from the edge of the box after he collected the ball from a throw in. However, on 32 minutes the Collieries took their chance and were two goals to the good. Truffas whipped a fantastic ball forward from just over the half way line. Brad Cooke read the flight of the ball superbly and yards from the Widnes goal line, Cooke poked the ball past Nevitt who failed to prevent a fine move from the Collieries. Both Cooke and Truffas doing well in that move. The second goal was a wake up for Widnes as a minute later they went on the attack, a ball was played through the Colls’ defence for forward Graham Molloy to latch onto, and Molloy continued his run before he shot straight at Danny Taberner. Buoyed by the aforementioned attack, Widnes again searched for a way back into the game, only two minutes of the half remained when Paul Cliff hit the post with the follow up cleared away from danger. Half Time – Widnes 0-2 Atherton Collieries The second half started as the first half ended, with the ball thundered against the post. This time however, it was the Collieries doing so and the Colls also followed up the rebound effectively. From a free kick, Battersby drilled the ball against the post of the Widnes goal. The ball rebounded straight the feet of defender Matt Grimshaw who fired his ball into the back of the net. With 54 minutes on the clock, following a good amount of Colls possession, Ben Hardcastle ran down his wing and passed the ball across the face of goal, however the Widnes defence were switched on and managed to clear the ball away from any kind of danger. A minute to go until the hour mark, Mark Battersby got his second of the game. The ball was originally played through the Battersby in the Widnes area after Truffas brought a long ball down and passed it on to him. However, the resulting shot from Battersby hit the post and the rebound came to substitute Matt Boland. Boland after he controlled, passed the ball onto Battersby who, calm and composed, curled the ball past the goalkeeper. A fantastic doubled save from Widnes goalkeeper Nevitt was witnessed by the 94 in attendance on 70 minutes. The first save was as a result of a Matt Boland shot after Gareth Peet (who came on from the bench to make his second debut for the Colls) crossed in, Nevitt got down well to make the save. The second save came from the rebound, its creator Brad Cooke. The fifth and final goal came on 74 minutes; Ben Hardcastle chipped the ball over the goalkeeper after he joined the ball on its journey into the box, Boland played the ball through to him. Fine link up play between Boland and Hardcastle indeed. Full Time – Widnes 0-5 Atherton Collieries For the second week running, the Collieries managed to put five past challenging opposition. Widnes did well towards the end of the first half, soaking up all the Collieries pressure. However, second half the Colls were unstoppable controlling possession and goalkeeper Danny Taberner having little to do. A special mention to our supporters, again superb, it really does mean a lot to everyone at the football club.