Droylsden made their first competitive visit to the Kensite Stadium for some time on Saturday, and it was an outing Bloods’ fans will remember for many seasons to come.

Ultimately, Droylsden were simply better and more clinical in front of goal. The Collieries’ spirited first half performance long forgotten come the end of the 90, a 5-0 defeat the stinging memory.

The only major changes from last weekend’s superb performance against Scarborough saw Danny Lambert pushed into midfield and Sebestian Julien also brought forward as he performed the role of forward.

A special shoutout now to all the volunteers who spent the morning shovelling snow off the mighty Kensite surface, without their hard efforts this game wouldn’t have gone ahead.

The Colls made the better start and very nearly opened the afternoon’s proceedings on five minutes. Winger Ben Hardcastle releases a low and hard effort from the edge of the area at goal. Bloods’ stopper Ritchie Branagan could only parry, unfortunately for him straight to the feet of Julien. The midfielder-come-forward instinctively scuffed an effort at goal. Droyslden’s defence was on hand though as the ball was clawed away from the back of the net.

Ten minutes later Julien came extremely close again, this time the woodwork preventing an opening Atherton goal. Collecting a loose ball on the area, Julien fired a shot across goal, he could only watch as it bounced back off the far post and away from danger.

On twenty minutes however, the visitors struck first blood against the run of play. In a similar effort to Julien’s first, Adam Reid was only able to parry a low drive from Dorylsden’s midfield. Unfortunately that parry landed straight in the path of Jamie Frost who made no error in tucking the ball past Reid.

Just before the break, Reid was called upon again, this time he tamed the troublesome Sefton Gonzales with a smart double save.

A half-time scoreline of 1-0 was respectable, if an unfair reflection of the half. The Collieries had played well, a simple lapse in concentration saw them undone. The second half, on the other hand, was a poor showing from the Colls and the four goals conceded is a true reflection of this, the snowy conditions not helping anyone.

Droylsden’s second of the game and first of the half came on the hour mark. The ball was slipped through to Ciaran Kilheeny who, unchallenged, carried into the area before he poked past Reid.

Four minutes later it was three. Luke Daly’s take effort wide of the area somehow deflecting into the back of the net. Simply too easy for the Blood’s, Daly couldn’t believe his luck.

A far post header from Kileeny saw Droylsden make it 4-0 on 68 minutes. This rounded off three goals conceded in a chaotic 10 minute spell.

With four minutes to go, the Bloods rounded off their afternoon with their best goal of the game. Frost again was played through in goal, and alone with no line of defence to confront, lobbed over the onrushing Reid.

It was an out of character, poor performance from Clegg’s men, they know this. However, the supporters still cheered and encouraged them through the 90. As Brad Cooke once said, ‘you take the highs with the lows’.

Atherton have a chance to bounce back next Saturday as they make the journey north to Kendal Town, as always your support will be massively appreciated.

Atherton Collieries: Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, Gaz Peet, Daniel Lambert (45’ Jordan Cover), Danny Lafferty, Chris Lynch, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke © (67’ Luke Giverin), Sebastian Julien, Iain Howard, Josh Messer – Unused Substitutes: Ryan Salmon, Glenn Matthews, James Sigsworth.

Droylsden: Ritchie Branagan, Shaquille Clarke, Ben Barber, Alex Frost, Dylan Smith, Danny Ventre, Luke Daly, Jamie Frost, Ciaran Kilheeny, Sefton Gonzales, Liam Caddick – Substitutes: Shaun Holden, Steve Hall, Callum Babshaw, Domaine Rouse, Dimitri Tuanzebe.

Attendance: 218

Match Report: Zach Pierce

Match Photography: David Featherstone

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