The FA Trophy is the Colls last opportunity this campaign for that longed for Cup run. With sweet memories of THAT Vase run two seasons ago, and THAT Shildon giant-killing, Clegg’s men made the journey East to Marske-by-the-Sea, hopeful of an away win against last year’s Northern League Champions and current Evo-Stik East, Marske United.
Storm Callum certainly made his presence known at the G.E.R Stadium, Gael-force winds whipped around the park and made for a difficult game of football – each and every kick needed careful judgement. Lone forward Adam Farrell acted as a steady target-man though, with all balls heading up-top towards him.
The first ten minutes of the game saw both outfits settle, take note of the individual threats offered and adapt to the rather severe weather conditions. On 11 minutes, Marske registered the first opportunity at goal of the game. A cross into the area fell at the feet of Chay Liddle at the far-post. The defender tapped the ball instantly at goal, Latham though collected with ease.
In truth, the opening thirty minutes saw Clegg’s side struggle to get out of their own half. The wind with them, Marske held possession well and attacked with great confidence. Smart defending from Callum Spooner prevented the hosts opening the scoring on 17 minutes. A defence splitting pass saw Craig Gott break through on goal, Spooner read play well as he came across, intercepted possession and knocked behind to safety. However, it would be from this very corner that the yellows took the lead. The ball had been curled into the box, Atherton failed to clear their lines, a goal-mouth scramble ensued. Captain Adam Wheatley caught a glimpse of the ball, from this it was clear that there would be only one winner, the defender fired the ball through the army of bodies in front of him and into the back of the net.
After a further spell of pressure, the Collieries woke up. The half-hour mark saw defender Matthew Grimshaw head a ball across the area, Daniel Lambert judged the flight of the ball superbly as he met it with an awesome volley destined for the top corner. Defending their advantage, the Marske defence threw bodies in front of it early, Lambert could only watch the ball bounce away from danger.
Buoyed by this, Vinny Bailey broke into the hosts area from a smart Atherton attacking move. The midfielder skilfully rounded Marske stopper Liam Watson, took the ball wide and poked towards goal. Again, the Yellows’ defence were on hand to launch the ball away on the line, just. The ball was collected and played forward once again, Gaz Peet this time worked his magic as he advanced into the area. Frustrated by Peet’s skill, the defender found himself unlawfully challenged in the area, a penalty awarded. As he has done so confidently all season, Ben Hardcastle took the responsibility, the midfielder fired a low and hard effort into the bottom right hand corner to see Colls level.
Four minutes later, 38 played, Atherton took the lead with a solid forward move. The ball was played long to Farrell on the edge of the area, the sturdy forward headed on for the advancing Bailey to latch onto. The play-maker collected and kept cool as he slotted the ball under the keeper and into the back of the net. Seconds later, and a repeat move from Clegg’s men, Bailey this time however launched the ball well over the bar.
Marske showed themselves to be an opposition not to be underestimated, they controlled play well, used the weather to their advantage and defended smartly, the Collieries had some work to do to ensure progress in this FA Trophy campaign.
The second period of the game opened with two strong chances, one for both sides, both ultimately wasted opportunities. Marske took their next opportunity on 64 minutes well, a long ball forward was simply miss-judged by the black and white’s defence. Craig Gott, was aware of it though, on hand to curl the ball into the back of the net to equalise for the Yellows.
Again, this almost forced a reaction from Clegg’s men. Atherton began to control the game, attacking well, but with moves that ultimately amounted to nothing.
On 75 minutes, Marske nearly nodded themselves back in front. An in-swinging corner was met with a superb diving header from defender Joshua Rowbotham at the far post. Latham though was called upon to make a fantastic save, and a fantastic save Latham made, Peet covering on the line to support.
Two minutes later, Marske re-took the lead. Substitute Curtis Round charged down the left flank, only for his initial shot to scuffed, luckily for Round, team-mate Matthew Waters was on hand to pick up, and bury the loose ball into the back of the net.
In the closing ten minutes, the Collieries used the pressure they were under to their advantage, wave of attack came and went though. Gaz Peet hit the bar from a free kick and Jordan Cover was denied by a smart Watson block following a Luke Giverin move.
The difference came two minutes into additional time. Late drama in Marske saw Gaz Peet fouled inside the area for the second time of the afternoon. Hardcastle once again took responsibility however the pressure of the moment saw Watson save well. Luckily, Lambert was on hand to fire into the roof of the area in what proved to be the last kick of the game.
A last-minute equaliser that kept Atherton in the hat with the replay taking place on Monday down at the Skuna Stadium, a 20:00 start. Get down and support Clegg’s lads on the road to Wembley.
A great result for Clegg’s men all things considered, poor defending simply blighting the Collieries across the 90 minutes.
Marske United: Liam Watson, Andrew May, Joshua Rowbotham, Glen Butterworth, Chay Liddle, Adam Wheatley ©, Callum Martin, Craig Gott, Matthew Waters, Jamie Owens and Liam O’Sullivan – Substitutes: Curtis Round, David Hillerby, Jacob Owen, Damien Stevens and Brad Plant.
Atherton Collieries: Dale Latham, Callum Spooner, Gaz Peet, Josh Messer, Daniel Lafferty ©, Matt Grimshaw (Luke Giverin 79’), Ben Hardcastle, Daniel Lambert, Adam Farrell (Jordan Cover 67’), Vinny Bailey and Ben Conway (Connor Gaul 79’) – Unused Substitutes: Glenn Matthews and Josh Peet.
Match Report – Zach Pierce
Match Photo – David Featherstone