24 days since football was last at the Skuna Stadium, Colls welcomed Ashton United and claimed their second win of the season in the Pitching-In Northern Premier League with a 1-0 victory. A game which certainly didn’t disappoint.
Quoting Brad Cooke in his post-match interview, “It was probably one of the best 10 minutes of football that I’ve ever seen in my life”, and it is hard to argue with that comment when reflecting on the quality on show.
Prior to kick-off, the players and supporters impeccably observed a minute’s silence to our recently passed supporter, volunteer and friend, Alan Cooper.
It all started in the 3rd minute of the game when Colls were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead with a penalty. Gaz Peet stepped up and took responsibility, but an excellent stop from former Colls stopper Greg Hartley prevented the left back from opening the scoring.
It was only a minute later when tempers between the two teams started to flair. Starting with a tough but fair challenge from Rick Smith in front of the two benches, Ashton’s debutant on the night, Chris Dagnell, was shown a straight red card by the referee, reducing United to ten men.
Moments later, Ashton had the ball in the back of the Colls net, courtesy of ex-player, Ben Hardcastle. Celebrations were well underway when the goal was eventually ruled out for offside following a conversation between the referee and the linesman. It was then Colls’ turn to go close, with Rick Smith heading inches wide of the post from a corner.
Following the chaos from the first ten minutes, the game started to settle. Colls were very much in the ascendency with the extra man advantage, using the pace of Dylan Glass and Marcus Cusani to get in behind the visitor’s full-backs. Peet also pushed forward down the left flank with great effect, putting in numerous great crosses into the box but nobody getting on the end of them.
Colls’ persistence eventually paid off. Dylan Class collected the ball on the right-hand side, weaving through challenges from Ashton defense, followed by a great one-two with his strike partner, Marcus Cusani, to get in behind the backline. Glass then produced a delightful, dinked finish over Hartley into the top corner of the goal. A moment of pure class from Glass and Brad Cooke’s men.
Moments later there was a big shout for another Colls penalty as Peet skipped past the Ashton right-back, but the referee waved away the appeals.
United started to find their rhythm and caused a real threat down their right flank. An Ashton corner on the 37th minute, cleared by the Colls’ sturdy defence, fell to Ben Hardcastle who fizzed a low effort just wide of the post.
As the referee blew the whistle for half-time, fans in the ground could finally catch their breath. What an unbelievable half of football at the Skuna Stadium!
The early stages of the second half saw the introduction of Jordan Darr for Glass up front, bringing some fresh legs to the forward line. Within minutes a cross from Peet found the head of Darr, which had Hartley scrambling to keep the ball out of the net.
A lot of the play from here-on-out had Ashton pushing for the equaliser. Colls showed tremendous grit and determination to break up attacking play at every opportunity; Daniel Lambert epitomised this throughout the 90 in the centre of midfield. This resulted in Ashton having very few chances on Danny Taberner’s goal.
The final whistle brought huge cheers to the Colls faithful, an almost sell-out crowd on the evening. Jubilant celebrations could also be seen from the players as they headed back to the changing room.
Colls’ next game is back at the Skuna Stadium is on Saturday 17th October against Stalybridge Celtic, kick-off at 3:00pm. Keep an eye on our social media channels for ticket information. We would love to see you there!
Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Clive Smith, Gaz Peet, Danny Lambert, Danny Lafferty ©, Rick Smith, Niall Battersby, Vinny Bailey, Dylan Glass (Jordan Darr 49’), Ben Conway (Elliot Rokka 63’), Marcus Cusani (Jack Bannister 76’). Unused Substitute: Elliot Wynne.
Goal(s): Dylan Glass (30′)
Rama Spice Man of the Match: Danny Lambert
Report: John Holland
Photo: David Featherstone