Following Saturday's unexpected home defeat to Market Drayton Town, Colls had a slight reshuffle for promotion favourites Prescot Cables' Monday night visit. The management team recalled Ben Conway who was rested on Saturday whilst Adam Farrell returned to the starting line-up offering a more physical threat to the Colls attack. Gaz Peet also replacing Glenn Matthews at left-back, giving him a well deserved rest following his outstanding performances recently. The game opened quite tentatively, Colls threatened first on 11 minutes, the attacking combination of Gaz Peet and Ben Conway giving Cables' right-back a torrid time, Farrell ran onto the cross and smashed a shot that could have tested the new netting had it not diverted narrowly wide. Cables cleared their lines and immediately went on the counter-attack, Jordan Southworth bring a save from Dale Latham at the near post. The resultant corner then being headed against the post.
Given that both of Colls goals last season against Cables came from the penalty spot, Gaz Peet being felled in the box at Hope St, one must consider Southworth slightly naive as on 23 minutes he fouled Peet who had run on to a smart Cover flick, to gain Colls a spot kick. Cover stepping up again to take responsibility, a smart shimmy from former Colls 'keeper Kyle Haslam caused Cover to go just left of centre where Haslam had checked his dive and was now waiting and able to save, fortunately Cover was alert and able to react quickest to put the ball into the roof of the net.
With Colls 1-0 up, possibly the defining moment of the game came on 23 minutes when the Assistant Referee on the far side spotted something and following a lengthy conflab, amongst some vociferous heckling, Jordan Wynne was shown a straight red card.
It was however ten man Cables who threatened most in the rest of the half, Lloyd Dean dragging a shot across goal then Southworth firing a free kick from distance straight at Latham.
As the teams left the field for the break, the officials came in for a barrage of abuse, particularly uncalled for as following the game Wynne apologised for his actions on social media.
The second half was a slightly tetchy affair. The Colls defence, complemented by the majestic Josh Messer neutralising any Cables threat whilst Vinny Bailey was comfortably controlling the centre of the park. The game came to life on 60 minutes when Cover out on the left flighted a ball into the Cables box in the no man's land between defence and 'keeper, indecision allowed Ben Conway to drift in and head over the advancing Haslam into the net.
On 69 minutes, the ever impressive Callum Spooner joined a number of Cables players in the referee's book after earlier being clattered into the advertising hoardings. Then Conway, Hardcastle and Farrell had further chances to increase to lead before Colls shuffled their pack with Bentham and Giverin replacing Conway and Cover.
Giverin marked his arrival with his wand of a left foot, collecting the ball 30 yards out before placing the ball perfectly, well out of the range of Haslam's dive, to add a third.
On 85 minutes, fellow sub Tom Bentham created a chance for himself to put the game well and truly to bed, his shot curling from the edge of the box smashing into the foot of the post and back into the arms of the despairing Haslam.
With the clock ticking towards 90 minutes, Cables' danger man Chris Almond nodded the ball into Latham's net to set up a tense 4 minutes of injury time, with Cables immediately attacking again in hunt of a second.
The game was finally wrapped up on 91 minutes with Giverin again smashing home with his left foot following great work by Hardcastle, as Cables desperately poured forward.
The points propel Colls back into second place in the league, ahead of our FA Trophy game away to Marske on Saturday.
Colls are next at home against Mossley on Saturday 3rd Nov, it promises to be another massive game, your support would be appreciated. Atherton Collieries: Latham, Spooner, Peet, Messer, Grimshaw, Lafferty(c), Conway (Giverin 78'), Bailey (Sherlock 81'), Cover (Bentham 75'), Hardcastle, Farrell. Substitutes (not used): Lambert, Gaul
Man of Match: Ben Conway Attendance: 261
Photograph: David Featherstone