Colls came up against Rochdale Town yesterday in the NWCFL, a fantastic crowd of 181 cheered on the Collieries to a well-deserved 6-1 win.
The last meeting between the two clubs came earlier in the season when Atherton travelled to Rochdale Town to beat the Castleton based club 4-0 on Tuesday 16th September. The goal scorers on that evening were: Mark Battersby (X2), Ben Hardcastle and Wes Bancroft.
This game started off brightly for the Collieries, taking the lead with just five minutes on the clock. A long ball was sent forward for Mark Battersby to chest down and control central to the goal on the edge of the area. Battersby passed on to Truffas who made his run diagonally from the wing into the Rochdale box. He then coolly took a touch before he fired the ball into the back of the net.
It could have been two for Colls four minutes later. An free kick was floated into the Rochdale box but was easily headed away by Town’s defence. The ball fell straight to Mark Battersby on the edge of the D and he volleyed straight at the Town goalkeeper. The striker then had another chance to double the Collieries’ advantage a minute later; namesake Nathan Battersby crossed the ball perfectly into the Rochdale area for Mark to head at goal. However, his header curled just around the left post and flew behind for a goal kick.
On 15 minutes, Rochdale won a free kick in a dangerous position. From the resulting set piece, they hit the post; a wakeup call for the Colls.
As the clock ticked closer to the 25 minute mark, Mark Truffas hit the bar of the Rochdale goal. Truffas received the ball on the right hand corner of the Rochdale box after a pinpoint accurate long ball forward from Nathan Battersby, Truffas’ cross-come-shot floated over Town’s defence and goalkeeper but unfortunately bounced onto the bar.
With five minutes to go until half time, Truffas got his second goal of the game. Five yards from the top right hand corner of the Rochdale box, on the edge of the area, Truffas curled his free kick around both the wall and goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Two minutes later another Collieries goal was scored, this time by Mark Battersby. A defence splitting ball was played across the pitch on the deck to Ben Hardcastle who made his run into the Rochdale half from the right wing. Hardcastle made his way into the box before he passed the ball to Mark Battersby who only had to tap in to make it 3-0 to the Colls.
Another two minutes later and it was four goals to Rochdale’s nil for Atherton. Hardcastle centrally made his run into the Rochdale box, the ball was played through to the winger who dinked the ball past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Half Time – Atherton Collieries 4-0 Rochdale Town
The second half was of a much slower pace to that of the first. The first piece of action of the half came ten minutes in. Truffas sent another cross into the Rochdale box which troubled Town’s defence. Mark Battersby just headed wide of the goal.
One minute away from the 60 minute mark, Hardcastle found himself with his second goal of the game. He had the ball played to him in an attacking position and capitalised, curling the ball past the keeper from just inside the area.
As the game crept closer to the 90 minute mark Rochdale increased the pressure on the Collieries goal, however, goalkeeper Danny Taberner made some fantastic saves to ensure Town found no way back into the game.
With seven minutes of the game remaining, Atherton could have had six. Forward Wes Bancroft dinked the ball wide of the upright after being one on one with the goalkeeper. However, this wasn’t a problem because two minutes later the Collieries did have their sixth of the game. Substitute Jordan Cover collected the ball and ran into the Rochdale box; Cover’s initial shot was saved but he made sure the ball was in the back of the net when he finished from the rebound.
Unfortunately, Colls failed to keep the clean sheet that they desired when Town scored on the 88th minute. Kristian Evans beat both Atherton’s defence and the advancing Taberner to head the ball home from a Rochdale cross.
Full Time – Atherton Collieries 6-1 Rochdale Town
Another fine Colls win in front of the – as mentioned earlier – excellent crowd of 181. Your support was excellent on Saturday and helped spur the lads on to another excellent win against difficult opposition. Your support will be needed, and appreciated again on Monday as the Collieries take on local rivals Atherton Laburnum Rovers in the fifth edition of the Flat Cap Derby… we hope to see you all there!