Match report by Zach Pierce
Hanley Town made the journey up to Atherton this Saturday, the Colls looked to build on their past two 5-0 wins away at both Oldham Boro and Widnes.
The last time the two clubs met came earlier in the season when the Collieries travelled down to Hanley in September. On an overcast Saturday, a coach full of both Atherton fans and players alike made the journey down to the West Midlands, which was well worth it – the game finished 6-0 in favour of the Colls.
A one-sided game was witnessed on the 27th September; the Collieries controlled the game throughout. Colls found themselves one goal to the good with just minutes on the clock, Mark Battersby fired into the Hanley goal thanks to a fine ball from Kris Holt. Battersby returned the favour to Holt minutes before half time; he passed the ball across to Holt who tapped into the empty goal. Just six minutes into the second half Atherton made it three thanks to Brad Cooke. On 78 minutes the Colls had their fourth; Mark Truffas curled the ball around the goalkeeper. A further two goals were added thanks to Ben Hardcastle and Mark Battersby.
Snow was forecasted the night before for Bolton and its surrounding areas. Thankfully however, the snow just missed Atherton and that combined with the hard work of the ground staff the game was given the green light following a pitch inspection at 9:30 AM. Before the game, Colls goalkeeper Danny Taberner was awarded with NWCFL goalkeeper of the month award, well done Danny!
The Collieries made a start to this game not to dissimilar to the start in the game back in September, they took the lead with just two minutes on the clock. A long ball came from the Collieries’ back line directed towards striker Mark Battersby; M. Battersby won the header well before he headed the ball onto namesake Nathan Battersby. N. Battersby chased the ball into the Hanley box before he crossed across perfectly for Captain Brad Cooke (who had made a late surge into the box) to control and fire into the back of the net.
Four minutes later and the Collieries could have been two goals to the good. The ball was threaded through to Kris Holt by M. Battersby. Holt followed cutting straight through the centre of the D and the Hanley defence. However, Holt’s shot tumbled just wide of the post.
Cooke deservedly got his second of the game on 14 minutes. M. Battersby fired a long and hard shot at Hanley goalkeeper Bradley Moorhead who did well to get a hand to M. Battersby’s shot, the ball was parried back into open play. Unfortunately for both Moorhead and Hanley the parried ball landed at the feet of Cooke who easily and simply tapped into the open net. Seconds before the goal Colls goalkeeper Danny Taberner made a vital save for the Collieries, it was the attack following that save which resulted in both Cooke’s and Colls’ second.
Atherton found themselves with a penalty on 19 minutes. Following a mistake from the Hanley defence the ball was played through to M. Battersby who ran well clear of the defence and one on one with the goalkeeper. In his best efforts to prevent M. Battersby continuing his run Moorhead brought Battersby down in the area resulting in a penalty kick and yellow card. Mark Ayres took the penalty and scored sending Moorhead the wrong way.
With 15 minutes to go until the interval the Collieries had another sight of goal. Holt fired well over the bar after he twisted and turned in the packed box. Holt did well to get his shot away.
Half Time – Atherton Collieries 3-0 Hanley Town
With the second half only being seven minutes old, the score line read 4-0. A low cross from the right hand side of the pitch from Holt into the ever-packed Hanley area took several deflections before striker M. Battersby got a touch to direct it into the back of the net. M. Battersby, who had played a major part in the first three goals had his first of the game.
On 63 minutes M. Battersby had his second and Colls fifth and final goal. A low cross from substitute Jordan Cover was whipped into the box towards the near post. M. Battersby who lurked in and around the area directed his run towards the near post and got a touch before the Hanley defender to tap it into the back of the net.
A minute later and Atherton were on the attack again, Mark Truffas had been causing trouble down the left wing all afternoon and a superb run enabled Truffas to be one-on-one with the keeper. However a last ditch challenge cleared the ball out of danger.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Collieries however; half chances for Hanley popped up throughout the half but on 76 minutes they had a real chance to pull a goal back. Anthony Malbon of Hanley crossed the ball into the Colls area; teammate and substitute Josh Hall controlled well under pressure from Atherton’s defence. Hall turned and fired his shot against the post. The ball was then cleared out of danger.
Full Time – Atherton Collieries 5-0 Hanley Town
Another fine Atherton Collieries win, followed up with another clean sheet. Fantastic football was on show throughout the afternoon as both sides came up together and provided a close entertaining game of football. A big thank you to the ground staff who worked hard to get the game on!
Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Rob Swanton, Kris Holt, Mark Ayres, James Brooks, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke ©, Mark Battersby, Nathan Battersby, Mark Truffas – Substitutes: Matt Boland, Andy Heald, Jordan Cover, Mark Adams, Gaz Carson.
Hanley Town: Bradley Moorhead, Curtis Evans, Reuben Burt, Ben Blowers, Josh Thorpe, Martin Stanyer, Sean Mallin, Micheal Morton, Anthony Malbon, Theo Stair ©, Curtis Price – Substitutes: Nathan Grice, Josh Hall, Dwayne Spencer.