Atherton Collieries and West Didsbury & Chorlton, two teams that are similar and that have same ambition: to progress both on and off the field, in whatever way they can. Of course, West Didsbury are a club we know relatively well, based in leafy suburban Manchester and despite two away victories earlier in the season the game was never going to be easy against Steve Settle’s much improved and inform outfit.

Colls had the opening effort on goal through Ben Hardcastle after possession was coughed up cheaply but a defender was on hand to block the goal bound attempt.

Soon a drilled cross saw Brad Cooke head straight into the hands of the West custodian. On 11minutes Cooke’s got his just rewards. A defensive header landed straight at his feet and he instinctively lobbed the ball in to the net from at least 25 yards. Brad may brag the chip was further out but given the exquisite execution he is allowed a little poetic license.

Ten minutes later Colls had their chance to double the lead – a chance they would need to take due to the quality of the opposition. A free-kick was headed out to Jordan Cover on the edge of the area. Cover however, caught the ball wrong as he volleyed well over the bar.

Minutes later and the Collieries had hit the woodwork. Mark Truffas hit the far post as he curled a low and hard free kick around the West wall. Yards from the box this was a fine effort from the winger who could of opted for the risky ‘up and under’ method.

On 43 minutes, Matty Kay had a goal bound effort destined to nestle in the top left hand corner. However, the Colls were off the hook as the ball was blocked by teammate Mark Rodgers. Minutes previously Colls Keeper Adam Reid had made a fine save diving to his right – West were certainly not out of it.

Half Time – Atherton Collieries 1-0 West Didsbury and Chorlton

Seconds into the second half and West saw themselves with a fine chance that very nearly led to an equaliser. From a cross Adam Reid was forced into a superb reflex save after it was very nearly diverted past him by his own defender. From the resulting corner, Matthew Eckersley’s header was cleared off the line by an alert Jake Kenny.

The game was even stevens but so it should be when two of the top teams of the league collide. However Colls needed maximum points and on 78 minutes the lead was doubled. James Kirby tapped in after Buckley-Smith spilled Justin Pickering’s shot from the edge of the area. The relief around Alder House was palpable.

Despite the two goal deficit West didn’t stop – this was evident nine minutes from time. Reid again was forced to make a superb save as he tipped the ball onto the bar from a shot by the impressive Ashley Woods.

Full Time – Atherton Collieries 2-0 West Didsbury and Chorlton

A fine win against an improving side. West will challenge next season, that is for sure, so this can definitely be classed as three good points from Clegg and the lads.

Report – Zach Pierce

Photo by Ian Monk

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