HOLT THE HERO WITH LAST GASP EQUALISER
Colls substitute Kris Holt was the hero for Michael Clegg’s side as he scored a late equaliser in an entertaining and keenly-fought encounter at Brantingham Road in front of yet another sizeable Colls away following that made up the bulk of the 125 crowd.
The hosts have generally struggled so far this season, but they started the game brightly, their confidence no doubt boosted having defeated Nelson 2-1 on Saturday, while Colls had to settle for a point away to Winsford United.
Mark Battersby, goalscorer in the weekend 1-1 draw, was absent from the Colls side this evening with Jordan Cover instead leading the line and looking to continue his recent goalscoring form. He threatened as much after only ten minutes, shinning the ball wide of the target after Nathan Battersby did well to support Ben Hardcastle down the right flank and deliver a terrific cross.
Although it was Maine Road having much of the possession, it was the black and whites who went in front after seventeen minutes, Matty Boland doing just enough to flick on a ball forward in to the path of Cover, who raced beyond the home defence before rounding the goalkeeper and calmly slotted home his sixth goal of the season.
The home side could count themselves unlucky to twice hit the woodwork from set pieces either side of Boland dragging a shot narrowly past the post after strong build up play in midfield from Jimmy Moore. First a well worked free kick saw a simple pass catch out a Colls defence that were expecting a standard lump in to the box, creating a chance that saw the ball hit the crossbar, while Danny Taberner’s bar was shaking again not long afterwards, this time directly from a Maine Road corner.
Cover saw what seemed to be two very plausible penalty appeals turned down before the half hour mark when first he seemed to have his ankles clipped inside the box before being sent tumbling by the goalkeeper in what the referee deemed to be a fair shoulder-to-shoulder challenge. Frustration at those decisions reached boiling point ten minutes before the break when a cross from Maine Road’s right hand side found Matthew Wilson unmarked at the near post to fire past Taberner for the final scoring of the first half.
The second half began in disastrous fashion for the Collieries when they fell a goal behind only two minutes after the restart when an impressive passing build up saw the hosts work the ball in to Michael Burke inside the penalty area for a goal that the similarly-named newsreader would have been proud to report on, I’m sure.
Within minutes and the visitors thought they’d drawn level with another Cover effort. However, celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag after he spotted Brad Cooke in an offside position, albeit one not necessarily close to the ongoing play as Cover latched on to a wonderful Mark Truffas ball over the defence and beat the Maine Road goalkeeper from the edge of the box. Shortly afterwards Cooke was withdrawn along with Boland, with Josh Messer and Kris Holt were introduced from the in an effort to push on from the misfortune of the previous decision.
The pace of Maine Road’s front line posed an almost constant threat on the break, but Colls were coming more and more in to the game and eventually got their reward with just two minutes of normal time remaining when makeshift striker Matt Grimshaw nodded down a hopeful ball forward in to the path of Holt who lashed home an unstoppable strike to send the visiting support in to raptures.
Both sides threatened half-chances to pinch all three points as the game ticked towards its conclusion, but Colls did enough to return from Chorlton with a well-earned point to remain in the league’s top ten ahead of Alsager Town’s visit to Alder House on Saturday (17th October, 3pm).
Atherton Collieries; Danny Taberner, Nathan Battersby (Jake Kenny 70), Keith Wedge, Jimmy Moore, Matt Grimshaw, Mark Ayres, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke (Kris Holt 53), Jordan Cover, Matty Boland (Josh Messer 53), Mark Truffas
Attendance – 125
Collieries Man of the Match – Jordan Cover
Match report by Matt Lawton