Brad Cooke's team notched their first ever Step 3 league double against play-off protagonists Stalybridge Celtic. The reverse fixture had been played out on Tameside in mid-September where goals from Tom Bentham and Brad Lynch had facilitated the 2-1 triumph. The in form visitors narrowly edged the early possesion but fell behind to a well crafted goal midway through the half . Vinny Bailey released Bentham out wide whose pinpoint cross was nodded expertly across the keeper by Louis Myers for his first goal in black n white. Captain Fantastic Danny Lafferty doubled the advantage on the stroke of half time. A teasing free-kick was fumbled by Alex Fojticek and following a mass scramble Lafferty bundled home from point blank range.
Celtic reacted to their manager’s half words and penned their hosts deep into their own half for the first fifteen minutes. However they couldn't breakdown a brave Colls rearguard who put their bodies on the line on numerous occasions. Clive Smith in particularly made a couple of blocks which had the crowd wincing. Bentham's fifteenth goal of an already productive campaign put the game to bed. Ben Conway was fetched down in the box and the experienced frontman made no mistake as he sent Fojticek the wrong way. Myers looked to have been tripped by Fojticek yards outside the penalty area but the ref waved away vociferous Colls protests. Paddy Wharton was forced into action late on but made a couple of good saves to ensure his team's clean sheet.
A great response to the midweek FA Trophy elimination. The teams meet again at the Skuna on Tuesday evening in the Integro League Challenge Cup, KO 7.45pm. Atherton Collieries: Paddy Wharton, Clive Smith, Gareth Peet, Josh Thompson, Danny Lafferty (C), Niall Battersby, Ben Conway (Kristian Holt 82'), John Welsh, Tom Bentham, Louis Myers (Dave Sherlock 85'), Vinny Bailey (Danny Lambert 76'). Substitutes (not used): Danny O’Brien, Ashley DunnRama Spice Man Of The Match: Louis Myers Attendance: 371
Photo: David Featherstone