COLLS HEAD FOR FLEETWOOD AFTER DEFEATING BARNTON…AND THE CONDITIONS

The Men United Cup Semi Final Atherton Collieries 1 Barnton 0 It certainly wasn’t one for the purists, but Mark Truffas’ seventeenth minute goal was enough for Atherton Collieries to claim a spot in the final of The Men United Cup for the second year in succession, with Michael Clegg’s side looking to avenge last year’s defeat at the final hurdle to Glossop North End when they take on league rivals Colne at Fleetwood Town’s Highbury Stadium on Tuesday 10th May.

Clegg was dealt a blow before the game had even kicked off when Mark Battersby, serial topper of the goalscoring charts, turned his ankle in the warm up and had to be replaced up front by Dave Sherlock, leaving just four substitutes on the Colls bench. Those numbers were further depleted just thirteen minutes in to the action when Kris Holt had to withdraw through injury, with Sherlock dropping in to midfield and James Kirby partnering Jordan Cover in attack.

Barnton skipper Kevin Pollard was dealt a sore one when an attempted clearance from a team mate caught him flush in the face, and the centre back was still a certain shade of beetroot moments later when his side fell behind as the ball broke to Truffas inside the penalty area and he made no mistake in rolling the ball beneath Richard Mottram in the visitors goal.

Nine minutes later and Barnton came within a whisker of levelling the scores but Colls somehow survived when, with goalkeeper Adam Reid beaten, the shot first hit Reid’s left hand post, rebounding on to his right hand post and then bouncing away to safety.

Alder House was subjected to a particularly strong wind throughout the first half which did little to encourage much of a game between the sides, and the whole thing was a write off within seconds of the second half beginning as Atherton was hit with an absolute deluge of rain that left the crowd of 160 scrambling for cover wherever they could.

Thankfully there was never any risk of the game not being able to finish, but it was certainly the end of the action as all concerned simply willed the clock on to ninety minutes with barely a whimper, and even any post match celebrations being limited to a dash inside to warmer and drier climes.

Colls return to league action on Bank Holiday Monday when Abbey Hey are the visitors to Alder House in the league (3pm kick off) before taking on Ladybridge at Atherton LR’s Crilly Park on Wednesday (7.30pm) in the semi final of the Bolton Hospital Cup.

Atherton Collieries; Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, Josh Messer, Kris Holt (James Kirby), Matt Grimshaw, Mark Ayres, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Dave Sherlock, Jordan Cover (Ahmed Sullay), Mark Truffas. Substitutes (not used); Nathan Battersby, Andy Heald

Attendance: 160

Match report by Matt Lawton

Photo by John Rooney

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