Atherton Collieries recorded their first home win in the Evo-Stik League in a feisty encounter against Ossett Albion. It was the first ever meeting between the two sides and it looked like it would be one that would live long in the memory after a goal and two straight red cards in the opening quarter of an hour.
Colls remained practically unchanged from their 4-1 victory away at Hallam in the FA Cup, with Kris Holt replacing Jordan Grant. Latest signing Rhys Nevins made the bench and came of in the second half to great effect, helping his side to a 2-0 victory.
It was a whirlwind start for Colls as they took the lead after just three minutes. Kris Holt received the ball in the centre of the goal and fired into the bottom right hand corner. Goalkeeper Dylan Parkin, who had joined Ossett on loan from Chesterfield the previous day, was unable to reach it despite his best efforts.
Colls were on the attack again almost immediately from the kick off and looked like they could be in for a relatively comfortable afternoon in they could settle. This didn’t transpire as on 11 minutes the match was turned on its head when Albion winger Kieran Scargill was shown a straight red card following a late challenge on Brad Cooke. The incident happened right in front of the home bench and frustrations were clear to see.
Tempers were not calmed and in the next passage of play, Cooke was once again caught by a late and reckless challenge by an Ossett player. Somewhat understandably, this time the Colls skipper reacted and he himself was shown a straight red card by the referee after much deliberation with his linesman.
It meant that both sides had to reshape themselves and this didn’t really materialise until the half time interval when both managers could regroup their troops. This made for a rather frenetic opening half, full of niggling challenges and long balls. Colls did try their best to get the ball down and play but just didn’t quite click in the final third.
Ossett came close to equalising when they used their initiative and took a quick free kick on the edge of the box. Colls were still constructing their defensive wall when the referee allowed the Ossett forward to fire towards the target without a notification from his whistle. Adam Reid had to be alert to scramble across his goal and scoop the ball off the line.
The visitors came close again just before the interval when James Eyles was picked out at the back post and he volleyed towards goal. Reid again had this angles covered and punched the ball away from danger. The Unicorns forward had a lively match and was visibly frustrated by the Colls who held him at bay for the rest of the encounter; he eventually talked himself into the referees notebook much to the approval of the partisan home crowd.
Colls took control of the second half and based on their performance in the closing 45 were good money for the three points. Gareth Peet became very involved up front, bombing on from a defensive position and came close to doubling his sides lead on 48 minutes. He was laid off on the edge of the area and he burst through on goal but his effort was pushed out for a corner by Dylan Parkin. The resulting corner was angled in towards the back post and nodded down by Danny Lafferty, who was unfortunate to see the ball drop just wide of the left hand post.
Jordan Cover broke through on 59 minutes but the ball was caught underneath his feet. It was at this stage Colls began to take full ascendency of the game and they found their second goal on 61 minutes. Howard and Cover linked up well, with the latter holding the ball up well on the byline in the area. The striker then turned his man and squared it to Darrhyl Mason who controlled and finished to score a goal which will do his confidence no harm at all.
Michael Clegg opted to see the game out and introduced Rhys Nevins and Jordan Grant. Nevins looked assured in possession in the centre of the field and slowed the game down while also possessing an evident threat going forward. Grant meanwhile strengthened a defence that had worked tremendously since Cooke’s dismissal early in the first half.
The young defender found himself space in the opposition half in the closing stages after Mason had done well to thread him through. Baring down on goal, Grant unleashed a vicious effort that was well saved by Parkin and he did well to get back up and respond well to the rebound as well.
It was a thoroughly deserved three points against experienced Evo-Stik opposition. Colls can take immense pride in knowing that they have kept three consecutive clean sheets in the league and are now the only team in the division not to let a goal in. Saying that there will be no complacency when the team travel to Trafford on Monday afternoon.
Atherton Collieries: Adam Reid, Brad Cooke ©, Danny Lambert, Josh Messer, Danny Lafferty, Jamie Forbes, Darrhyl Mason, Kris Holt, Jordan Cover (Jordan Grant 82’), Iain Howard (Rhys Nevins 76’), Gareth Peet – Substitutes: Matt Grimshaw, Rhys Nevins, Mark Truffas, Jordan Grant, Matt Marsh
Ossett Albion: Dylan Parkin, Oliver Yates, Callum Charlton, Dominic Riordan ©, Joseph Wilkinson, Tom Claisse, Kieran Scargill, James Huntley, Danny South, James Eyles, Ross Hardacre – Substitutes: Ryan Farrell, Ben Walker, Stefan Holt, Declan Dawson, Robert Tonks
Attendance – 201
Man of the Match – Kristian Holt
Match report by Joseph Gibbons
Photo by David Featherstone