Atherton Collieries suffered their first league defeat of the season despite scoring twice at Northwich Flixton Villa.

Following Saturday’s FA Vase exit against Seahem Red Star, the Collieries made the short journey to Flixton to play Northwich Flixton Villa.

The game started poorly for Colls, conceding the first goal of the game on the tenth minute. The ball was threaded through to midfielder John Poizer as he made his run into Atherton’s area. Poizer found himself one on one with goalkeeper Nathan Pennington, Poizer easily slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t a wake up call for the Collieries who couldn’t gain control of the ball or the game. Villa had a chance to double their advantage on 22 minutes, Saul Henderson of Villa received the ball on the right side of Colls’ box, Henderson took a touch before firing well wide of the goal.

Northwich controlled the half, making it hard for Atherton to muster any real chances on goal until the 37th minute. Collieries’ midfielder Kristian Holt won the ball after a long Colls ball forward was not dealt with by the Villa defence. Holt was free on goal with all the time and space he could ever wish for. However, Villa goalkeeper Andy Jones made a fine save from Holt’s low and hard shot.

This was a wake up call for the Colls, they began to pick up the pace a little. Within two minutes from Jones’ fine save to deny Holt, Atherton had another chance to draw the game level. Hardcastle received the ball on his right wing, deep in the Villa half of the field. Hardcastle brought the ball down to his feet and made his run along the rim of Villa’s area. Unfortunately, the shot that followed Hardcastle’s run flew well wide of Jones’ goal.

Half Time – Northwich Flixton Villa 1-0 Atherton Collieries

The second half was more of the same, Villa worked hard, covering all areas of the pitch and pressurising every single Colls player on the ball however, as the half advanced Atherton grew into the game a lot more.

Ten minutes into the second period of the game Mark Truffas received the ball and cut inside of the Villa box, however the shot that followed from Truffas curled straight into the palms of Jones.

On 55 minutes Villa had doubled their lead. Northwich’s Nalatche Lassana twisted and turned his was past the Collieries’ defence and poked home with ease, Northwich now two goals to the good.

Five minutes later, on 60 minutes the Colls pulled a goal back thanks to Captain Brad Cooke. From an Atherton counter attack, the ball was floated into the Villa box, with minimal pressure from the Northwich back four, Cooke headed home with ease to drag the Collieries back into the game. A minute later and the Colls could have drawn themselves level. Substitute Tom Shaw fired his shot well over the bar.

Colls couldn’t capitalise on the momentum of Brad Cooke’s earlier goal and on 70 minutes Villa had their third. After taking a heavy touch, Villa’s Saul Henderson had the time and space five yards off the edge of the Collieries’ area to fire his shot at goal. It was a fine goal from Henderson.

Credit to Atherton, they kept going throughout the half, searching for any way back into the game. On 75 minutes they found it, through again Brad Cooke. From a corner, Matt Grimshaw (on the attacking side of the pitch) won a superb tackle on the edge of the box to enable the ball to land at Cooke’s feet. Cook fired his shot at the Villa goal to ping it into the back of the net.

Unfortunately, the Collieries couldn’t find that elusive equaliser.

Full Time – Northwich Flixton Villa 3-2 Atherton Collieries

That defeat brings a holt to Atherton’s fine league record of 13 games unbeaten, a run that everyone at the club is extremely proud of and thoroughly enjoyed. Credit where credit is due Northwich played excellently on Wednesday and were the better team on the night. The Colls go again on Saturday – they travel to Abbey Hey in the Men United Cup as they look to bounce back.

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