A succulent second half display put Runcorn Town to the sword on a cool Monday night at The Pavilions.
As in the recent cup game between the sides Colls started slowly ceding possession but fortunately Adam Reid between the sticks wasn’t unduly troubled. In fact Brad Cooke had the best early chance when he found himself clear in the Town box but he was in two minds what to do and Danny Lever smothered the eventual shot. Reid was almost left red faced when he was nearly caught out with the ball at feet by an attacker but the ball somehow squirmed to safety. A technically wonderful 20 yard shot from Justin Pickering was beaten away expertly by Lever while Reid was also being kept busy. In first half stoppage time the hosts had a gilt edge opportunity. Ex Colls mon Chris Lawton whipped in a quality centre straight onto his colleagues head but it was wastefully headed wide much to the relief of the large Colls travelling contingent.
Half Time – Runcorn Town 0-0 Atherton Collieries
Within seconds of the restart Reid saved well from Paul Shanley and after this Colls didn’t look back. The fit again talisman Mark Battersby received the ball from Ben Hardcastle, who was making his 100th competitive appearance, with his back to goal. He turned and unerringly half volleyed the ball into the far corner of the net.
The lead was soon doubled, second half sub Mark Truffas crossed to the far post and James Kirby headed home bravely from the acutest of angles.
Colls were now dominant with Dave Sherlock spraying the ball about with gay abandon in the middle of the park. Another Pickering piledriver was again dealt with by Lever and Battersby headed wide narrowly from a Truffas cross which was slightly too high.
Battersby got his just rewards on 86 minutes. He showed great movement at a Truffas corner before glancing in a header. It was his 32nd goal of the campaign and puts him ahead in the NWCFL Premier Division goalscoring charts for the first time.
Matt Grimshaw wrapped it up with the last touch of the game when he bundled in a Truffas freekick from centimetres out.
Full Time – Runcorn Town 0-0 Atherton Collieries
A spellbinding second half display which cements 3rd place in the table and keeps the top two in sight.
Adam Reid, Kristian Holt (Callum Jones), Gareth Peet, Dave Sherlock, Mark Ayres, Matt Grimshaw, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke (Mark Truffas), Mark Battersby, James Kirby (Jonathan Hurst) & Justin Pickering
Report – Emil Anderson