It was back to the NWCFL on Saturday as the Collieries made the trip to Staffordshire to play Hanley Town at their Abbey Lane ground.
In the same fixture last season, Colls ran out 5-1 visitors after having goalkeeper Phil Priestly sent off. Gareth Peet, Paul Atherton (X3) and Mitch Leece with the goals for the Collieries.
Atherton started the brighter of the two sides and found themselves in front just three minutes into the game. Kristian Holt won the ball in midfield and ran down the right wing. Holt, with plenty of space, spotted the run of Mark Battersby and played the ball through to Battersby who fired into the bottom right hand corner of the Hanley goal.
Minutes later and the Collieries had a chance to make it two. Ben Hardcastle won the ball and passed to Holt on the half way line. Holt passed the ball back to Hardcastle who attacked the right wing. Hardcastle crossed the ball in for Battersby to shoot. His shot however was saved by Dane Jackson in the Hanley goal.
On nineteen minutes Hardcastle again caused problems for the Hanley defence. Hardcastle made his way through the Hanley back four, rounded the keeper but only for his shot to hit the side netting instead of the back of the Hanley net.
With three minutes remaining until half time Colls doubled their lead. Goalkeeper Danny Taberner knocked the ball up for Battersby to reach before goalkeeper Jackson. Battersby with space and time passed the ball across to Holt who tapped into the empty goal.
Half Time – Hanley Town 0-2 Atherton Collieries
Just six minutes after the restart Atherton made it three. Mark Truffas on the left wing did what he does best and twisted and turned his way past three Hanley defenders to have a chip shot on goal. In an attempt to the save the shot the keeper palmed out straight to Brad Cooke’s feet, Cooke controlled and tapped in.
With the game 70 minutes old, the Collieries had another chance off goal. Mark Battersby fired over having ran clear of the Hanley defence.
On 78 minutes the Colls had their fourth. Truffas, again causing problems for the Hanley defence, ran into the box and curled his shot around Jackson.
Nine minutes later and it was five. Hardcastle was clear on goal so hit a 12 yard shot into the corner of the Hanley goal, a fine goal from Hardcastle who deserved his goal. Two minutes later, on 89 minutes, the Collieries had another goal. The Collieries defence sent a ball over the top for Battersby to be clear on goal. One on one with the keeper, Battersby slid his shot into the Hanley goal for his second of the game.
Full Time – Hanley Town 0-6 Atherton Collieries
A superb Atherton Collieries performance sent them top of the NWCFL. As you may have noticed, another clean sheet was recorded to take our clean sheet tally in the league up to six, a great effort from everyone involved. Next week, the Collieries welcome both AFC Liverpool and the FA Vase to Alder House.
Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Rob Swanton, Andrew Heald, Gareth Carson, Mark Ayres, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Mark Battersby, Kris Holt, Mark Truffas – Substitutes: Matt Grimshaw, Matt Boland, Nathan Battersby, Wes Bancroft, Tom Shaw
Hanley Town: Dane Jackson, Nathan Grice, Tom Hall, Martin Stanyor, Curtis Evans, Josh Hall, Jamie Turner, Nathan Jones, Karl Miley, Theo Stair, Curtis Price – Substitutes: Danny Tawton, Nathan Chinshaw, Dwayne Spence, Aaron Lewis