The annual Colls’ Jolly Boy outing is a well-documented occasion. It’s a time for the team to bond, the fans to let themselves go (as it hadn’t happened for at least a week) and for the club to come together. This year, Carlisle City would be hosts – following in the footsteps of Eccleshall, Glantraeth and Whitley Bay, to name a few.
Despite the Collieries running out eventual 5-1 winners, the game was slow to start off. Colls’ stopper Adam Reid was forced into the first bit of action as he caught with ease from a City corner. It was from Reid’s delivery, however, that the Colls produced their first chance of the game. Brad Cooke carried the ball deep into midfield and played through Lukasz Malkowski. The continental winger took a touch before he passed across to Dave Sherlock in the box. The striker however fired the ball well over the bar.
In his quest to solve the mystery of Carlisle’s defensive resolve, Sherlock turned from potential goalscorer to potential provider five minutes later as he crossed the ball into the box, from the left side, towards Jordan Cover – only for his strike partner to head just wide across goal.
Atherton attacked and attacked and after a clearance off the line from a Josh Messer free kick they found themselves with the lead. It was Sherlock who fired home from a cross that was played over to him. The sturdy striker volleyed the ball with power into the back of the net.
One goal down, Carlisle didn’t give up. On the counter attack, Reid was forced into a fine save from City forward Dan Balmer.
It’s safe to say that since his arrival, Lukasz Malkowski had had a huge impact on the Colls’ faithful. Chants of ‘Polska’ rained down onto the field as the midfielder saw his headed effort saved on the line. Defender Chris Pauley who put in an assured performance drilled the ball cross field towards Malkowski. The lively winger headed across goal towards the bottom corner, only for the City stopper to do well as he clawed the ball away.
This wouldn’t matter however; Atherton doubled their advantage on 38 minutes. Cover advanced into the danger area and tapped the ball across to Carlisle born teammate Cooke who only had to re-direct the ball into the back of the net.
The Collieries were in control, Carlisle couldn’t handle the pace and ability Clegg’s side offered on a sunny afternoon. It became 3-0 as minutes remained before the break. A long ball was sent over the Carlisle defence and the pacey forward latched onto it. As he carried the ball into the box, Cover – all alone – looked up and grasped his opportunity. The ball was fired into the top of the goal, he broke the net (literally) in the process.
It was Crazy Gang favourite Malkowski who added the fourth just before the break. It was a sweet Collieries’ move. Cooke passed onto Cover deep inside the City half. After a Maradona style turn the goalscorer passed onto the Polish winger. Malkowski drilled the ball into the back of the net first time.
Half Time – Atherton Collieries 4-0 Carlisle City
The second period of the game was a less lively affair as the assigned management team Warren Jones and Andy Heald experimented a little as they introduced some new and familiar faces to the picture. Most notably, new signing, Montserrat international Dajour was added at right back and after a long season out the tank, James Brooks, returned– yes, we all remember that infamous goal against St Helens in the FA Cup.
Carlisle obviously received a few choice words in the changing rooms at half time and played some good attacking football in the second half. They registered their first and only goal of the game on 61 minutes. Craig Cherry picked up the loose ball after Grimshaw headed away from a City throw. Cherry fired into the bottom far corner after a charge into the Colls’ area.
It was soon 5-1 though, Jordan Cover getting his second of the game with apparent ease. There seemed to be a partnership forming between Cooke and Cover as the pair worked well creating this goal, not for the first time in the game.
That concluded a fantastic afternoon in Carlisle. We thank City for hosting the match and for their hospitality and wish them all the best as they begin life in the NWCFL in a couple of weeks time.
Atherton Collieries: Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, Chris Pauley, Danny Lafferty, Josh Messer, Mark Ayres, Kristian Holt, Lukasz Malkowski, Brad Cooke, Dave Sherlock, Jordan Cover – Substitutions: Dajour, Matt Grimshaw, Danny Taberner, James Brooks
Match report by Zach Pierce