The 60th and final game in what has been a very long but enjoyable 2014/15 season – the Hospital Cup Final at the Macron Stadium against Turton. An important game as the Collieries looked to add to the First Division Title acquired some 9 games ago.
Colls had yet another good crowd behind them on this Tuesday night inside of the windy Macron as they watched a game that entertained, close at times, as the score line doesn’t suggest.
Atherton made a good start to the game as they showed their intention early on. As the clock signalled eight minutes, they had their first effort on goal. Gareth Peet whipped the corner into the Turton area, aimed for the near post. Mark Battersby was in pole position to flick the ball up into the top right hand corner of the goal. However, M. Battersby was denied thanks to a fine save from Josh McGreavy who palmed the ball away for another corner. From the corner that resulted, Peet played the ball into the area before it was brought down and played to Mark Truffas who was positioned on the top right hand edge of the Turton area. Truffas controlled and curled the ball into the top corner of the goal.
On 14 minutes, Atherton nearly gifted Turton with a pathway back into the game. The Collieries’ defence mistakenly allowed the ball to fall in pathway of Turton’s Dave Hanlon. Hanlon, with the ball at his feet, twisted his way around the Collieries defence and found himself in the box. Hanlon fired his shot at goal which was well saved by Taberner. Five minutes later, the Colls gifted Turton with yet another opportunity to draw level. On the edge of Atherton’s area, Dave Burrows picked up the ball up and fired straight at Taberner who had to be alert to make the save.
With the game 24 minutes old, the Collieries searched to double their advantage. A throw-in at the bottom right corner of the pitch was thrown straight to the feet of Ben Hardcastle who turned and ran straight at the Turton defence before he passed the ball into the palms of McGreavy at a tight angle.
The game got a bit dry as both teams played out a midfield game. However, the game was sparked back into life with seven minutes still to play of the first half. Mark Truffas, 25 yards from goal, curled a superb free-kick into the top corner of the Turton goal – a truly fantastic finish.
With seconds to go until half time, Atherton made it three. Brad Cooke played a superb ball up to Peet on the left wing, as Peet advanced down the wing, Hardcastle made his run into the Turton box. Peet passed across for Hardcastle to fire into the back of the net.
Half Time – Atherton Collieries 3-0 Turton
The Collieries started the second half as they ended the first as they attacked the Turton goal just four minutes after the restart. McGreavy was forced to make a fine save from a hard and low M. Battersby shot which was fired at goal.
Ten minutes later and M. Battersby was denied once again, this time from a block by the Turton defence. Jake Kenny won the ball well in midfield as he played said ball through to M. Battersbsy. M. Battersby controlled and released his shot at goal – unfortunately his shot was blocked well by the Turton defence. This was no matter as minutes later; the Colls had four goals to their name. Peet again swung a fantastic corner into the near post, this time for Turton’s Rick Battersby to head into his own goal.
The clock read 61 minutes when M. Battersby was denied once again. Left back Tom Shaw flicked the ball into the pathway of M. Battersby on the edge of the area. M. Battersby controlled, turned and fired his shot straight into McGreavy’s arms.
Four minutes later, Turton pulled a goal back. Burrows passed the ball into the net after his shot was originally saved and parried out by Taberner, after Kieran Sisson played the cross into the Colls area. Moments later, Turton nearly had two to their name – substitute Sam Crook saw his short range shot bounce back off the post.
With the game 70 minutes old – M. Battersby finally had his goal. After he caught the Goalkeeper off his line, M. Battersby rolled the ball into an empty net from some angle and some distance from goal. An ambitious yet fine effort from M. Battersby.
Ten minutes remained when Hardcastle got his second of the night, as Atherton got their sixth. M. Battersby turned from scorer to provider as he played the ball through to Hardcastle who continued his run into the box. Hardcastle then curled his shot around the onrushing McGreavy.
Goals wise, both sides still weren’t finished – Turton added a second with two minutes of the game left. A Turton free kick was played into the Collieries area as the Colls were caught ball watching, they allowed it to repel off the post for Sam Crook to tap in.
Seconds of the game remained when the final goal of the 85th Bolton Hospital Cup final was scored. Colls’ substitute Westley Bancroft scored from a superb effort, some distance from goal. A great gaol to cap a great performance from Atherton, champions of the Bolton Hospital Cup 2015.
Full Time – Atherton Collieries 7-2 Turton
A great way to end the season, a fine performance at the Macron from the Collieries which see them lift the Hospital Cup for the first time in two seasons. This trophy, of course, adds to the First Division title achieved some two weeks ago. It has truly been a fantastic season for all involved at the Football Club.
Atherton Collieries thanks you, the supporters, for your support throughout the season; we hope to see you all down at Alder House next season as the Colls begin life in the NWCFL Premier Division.
A combination of both Turton and Atherton Collieries supporters came together on Tuesday night to create a total attendance of 624, all proceeds went to charity.
Man of the Match – Mark Truffas
Match Report – Zach Pierce