Buoyed by their superb 3-0 win away at Penrith last week, the Collieries were determined to carry their fine form into this weekend’s encounter with sixth placed Hanley Town.
The festive season had hit the Kensite for this NWCFL Premier Division game, Christmas songs blasted over the PA System and we had Ben from ‘Ben’s Wish’ down as our guest, spending the pre-match period decorating a Christmas Tree brought down by Goalkeeping coach Rob Sadler.
Pre-match conversation had confirmed that this would be a tough game, Hanley, who succeeded us as First Division champions, came into this game having avoided defeat in three of their last four outings. Ultimately though, this did not unnerve the Colls who registered a fine 3-0 win for the second week in a row.
Despite the full time score line, Hanley found themselves with the first attack of the game. Thanks to Adam Reid’s Goalkeeping however this amounted to nothing. The stopper came out and blocked the onrushing forward, collecting the ball with apparent ease.
Currently, Jordan Cover finds himself in superb form. Last weekend, he played a key role in the club’s FA Vase progression, scoring two important goals. In this game, his play carried the same amount of importance. Having had the ball threaded through to him on 13 minutes, the pacey forward took the ball wide slightly, penetrating the area from the right side before seeing his resulting shot blocked.
Not to worry as from the resulting corner, breakthrough. Matt Grimshaw rifled his volley home. Just like last weekend, Grimshaw had opened the afternoon’s scoring and if bets were taken for first goal scorer his odds would have to be slashed dramatically.
Following one or two stray Cover shots, it was time for Darryl Mason to step up to the plate. On the edge of the area Ben Hardcastle released a low and hard shot on goal that caused a few problems for Hanley stopper Joseph Hemmings, so much so he was only able to parry the ball straight to the feet of Mason. Mason looked to play the ball across goal, but without anyone available it was quickly cleared away from danger.
Cover caused real problems for the Hanley back four throughout his time on the pitch, just before half time he had two further opportunities to double Atherton’s advantage, taking the later to ensure Hanley a two goal deficit at the break.
Firstly, Hemmings collected a low and hard Cover shot, once he had wriggled into the area down the right side. And secondly, a pinpoint Gaz Peet cross was met with precision by Cover, who headed home for the Colls’ second of the game. Great link up play between the two.
Cover’s heroic play continued in the second half, on 57 minutes the forward rounded the Hanley goalkeeper and somehow, from the tightest of angles on the left side of goal deep inside of the Blue’s area, managed to release a shot destined for the back of the net. This would have been Cover’s second of the game if it wasn’t for a fine bit of defending from Hanley’s back four, clearing the ball off the line.
Five minutes later, however, Cover got his second and the Collieries’ third of the game. A cross came in from the right which a Town defender allowed under his foot. Cover was lurking behind him and finished clinically from yards out for his fifteenth of an increasing productive campaign.
Colls bossed the second half possession and left October Goalkeeper of the Month Reid with very little to do.
On 63 minutes a Mark Truffas special saw a superb ball floated into the area from a dead ball situation on the left side of the Kensite turf. Unfortunately, the ball landed safely in the palms of Hemmings.
One or two half chances came and went for the black and whites but a great move two minutes from time must be highlighted. A throw was awarded the Collieries’ way and, after some very quick thinking, Hardcastle sent Mason clear down the wing. Alone, Mason sent a drilled cross into the area for debutant Neil Chappell to latch onto. With a superb header, the former 1874 Northwich man had glory in his wake but Hemmings made a superb save as he tipped the ball onto the bar. Liam Wood knocked the rebound narrowly ball wide.
So, another fantastic win against one of the Division’s tougher sides. Clegg and his team can be proud of Saturday’s performance and will now look ahead to next Saturday’s game away at Cammel Laird 1907.
Report by Zach Pierce
Photo by David Featherstone