Desperate to address a recent run of poor form, Manager Michael Clegg took his Atherton Collieries side to bottom placed Goole on Saturday for what was officially a ‘six-pointer’.
With injuries still blighting Clegg in his team selection, the Collieries turned out a decent starting eleven. Ryan Salmon took his place in the side, leading the Atherton front line. However, another injury on just five minutes halted his afternoon, and the Club’s wider progress on the injury front, and so Glenn Matthews soon had to take his place.
A pretty turgid opening 45 saw the Colls just about edge it but it was our hosts who registered the first substantial effort of the game on 24 minutes. Greg Hartley was forced into a smart save after an ambitious Goole effort curled its way towards goal from the edge of the area.
Darrhyl Mason had a superb game, this was evidenced on 30 minutes as, inside his own area, the forward doggedly won the ball and pelted down the left flank. Cutting inside, Mason simply ran out of steam, allowing Goole goalkeeper Ben Saynor to collect with ease. A fantastic effort from Mason though.
Three minutes later and it was Iain Howard’s turn to stretch the host’s defence. Gaz Peet won the ball on that left side and passed down towards Howard. The winger tried to play Peet back through but this was blocked and the ball bounced back towards him. Collecting once again, Howard advanced towards goal and released a stray effort that bounced wide of the mark. This was to be Peet’s last contribution to the game for seconds later he was also substituted off due to injury. James Sigsworth the replacement.
Despite having to adapt to the game once again, the Collieries took the lead on 44 minutes with a sublime finish. The ball fell to Matthews 25 yards out and just left of the Goole goal, the substitute collected and composed before he riffled the ball into the back of the net, lobbing the Goole stopper. A great finish that was deserving of a solid first half display.
The second period of the game saw Goole dominate, seconds after the restart Jordan Turner caused problems as he fired a composed shot into the side netting. On 49 minutes the hosts had the ball in the back of the net, off-side the ruling however as Atherton struggled to provide answers to Goole’s questions.
Just seven minutes into this important second half and Clegg’s injury nightmare went from bad, to worse. The Collieries gaffer was forced into his third and final substitution as Sebestian Julien was replaced by Jake Kenny, a defender making way for a midfielder highlighting the severity of the injury crisis down at the Kesnite.
As the Colls heroically soldiered on Goole grabbed an equaliser on 69 minutes. A stray headed clearance was picked up by Turner inside the area. Hartley, alert, narrowed the angles and blocked the initial effort, however, the forward comfortably slotted the rebound home.
Keen to find that winner and secure those illusive three points, Atherton continued to press. Mason picked up a loose ball on the far right wing but, similar to the earlier effort, could only fire against the side netting at an acute angle. The final effort of the game on 83 minutes showed just how out-of-luck the Collieries are at the moment. A Colls free-kick caused chaos in the area as a header bounced back of the far post and along the goal line. The ball failed to curve into the back of the net and so was eventually cleared away from any danger.
Under the circumstances this can almost definitely be labelled as one point gained and not three points dropped. Clegg’s men had everything thrown at them and they still managed to come out unscathed. Injuries continue to hamper Clegg and his team, and will do so for a number of weeks, but this point away at Goole is a step in the right direction.