It was an historic first ever game for the Collieries in The Buildbase FA Trophy and the Sheffield suburb of Stocksbridge played host to this auspicious occasion. Stocksbridge Park Steels ply their trade in the Evostik Division 1 South and have been scoring goals at will of late in their march to third place on the league ladder.
Colls went into the game with just one win and in their last eight outings and the bookmakers rated them a 3/1 shot to triumph. Jamie Forbes was unavailable so Chris Lynch slotted into at centre half with Brad Cooke moving to right back. Josh Messer, Kristy Holt, Jordan Cover and Darrhyl Mason returned to the starting line up.
The game started cagily with the teams seemingly even matched. Cover had a couple of half chances before Colls took the lead on 19 minutes. Gareth Peet was upended out wide and Iain Howard floated in the free kick which Holt stooped to nod in from yards out. It was the first headed goal of the campaign.
On the half hour mark a dangerous Steels free kick narrowly cleared the Adam Reid’s bar and five minutes later Colls fortuitously doubled their advantage. Cover played Mason through but defender Liam McFadyen got their first. Unfortunately for him his attempted clearance rolled straight past his keeper and into the net. Colls had to be happy with their first half display, the only downside was losing Messer to injury. Danny Lambert replaced him for the second half.
The Steels had been blunted in the opening period and they restarted the game with a lot more purpose. Reid has been anonymous in the game but between the 60 and 65th minutes he was forced into three saves to stop the home team mounting a comeback. Firstly he strong armed a 20 yard free kick to safety then saved from point blank range following a goalmouth melee before stopping a low drive from distance. It was a virtuoso spell from the Colls no 1.
With around twenty minutes remaining Ash Woods and Ben Hardcastle replaced the hard working Holt and Mason. Iain Howard made it 3-0 on 82 minutes. Peet set up Hardcastle who in turn passed to Howard for a simple finish at the back post. It was just reward for the playmaker who had made his team tick all afternoon. In the 94th minute Hardcastle shot under the keeper to make it four but their was still time for Luke Mangan to score a consolation goal.
The 4-1 result probably flattered Colls slightly but they belied underdog status and unequivocally deserved to qualify for the next round. This tie at Kendal Town will be played on Saturday 28 October. Again there was another bumper turnout of Colls fans in the crowd of 178 and your continued support is greatly appreciated. The Steels were top class hosts and showed proper Yorkshire hospitality.
On Saturday we return to the bread n butter of Evostik Division 1 North action as we head to Clitheroe in East Lancashire.
Atherton Collieries: Adam Reid, Brad Cooke (c), Gareth Peet, Josh Messer (Danny Lambert 46′), Danny Lafferty, Chris Lynch, Rick Smith, Kris Holt (Ben Hardcastle 72′), Jordan Cover, Iain Howard, Darrhyl Mason (Ash Woods 72′) – Substitutes: Rob Sadler, Danny Lambert, Ben Hardcastle, Ash Woods
Man of the Match – Iain Howard