The Colls built on last weekend’s success away at Colwyn Bay on Saturday with a 2-1 win against Glossop North End down at the Skuna Stadium. Two weeks previous saw the Skuna waterlogged an hour before an important game against Newcastle Town. Ahead of Saturday’s game grey clouds floated above the Skuna and threatened the same outcome as rain poured onto the green surface, however thanks to the hard work of volunteers the game was safely on. Manager Michael Clegg brought new signing Oliver Roberts straight into the Colls side to make his debut, the midfielder provided that extra bit of quality for the black and whites.
With the Colls at one end of the table and Glossop at the other, both sides needed three points going into the game. A combination of wet surfaces and injuries meant that, simply, it was anyone’s game. Seven minutes in North End had the first sight on goal. A Dominic Marie effort tipped behind by Greg Hartley in the Colls goal.
Three minutes later, all Atherton nerves were settled as they opened the scoring on ten minutes. Clegg’s men clearly working on their attacking formations over the past few weeks for Connor Gaul’s run down the right win was expertly followed by his midfield team-mates. Gaul cut inside right of the area for Hardcastle to fire home with a low and hard effort. A sublime run by Gaul followed with an expert pass.
Two minutes later and the Collieries had doubled their advantage. Debutant Roberts swung a perfect header into the box for Ian Rowlands to latch onto. Truthfully, a tame header from the defender, but some poor Glossop play allowed the ball to bounce into the back of the net.
After a lively opening ten minutes, Atherton simply enjoyed possession and dictated the pace of play, the only highlight of the remaining minutes of the first half coming seconds before the break. A free-kick in a dangerous possession, just shy of the edge of the area, was ultimately a wasted opportunity to make it three.
With the threat of another defeat to their name, Glossop came out fighting in the second half though both sides failed to offer any real chances on goal.
Stray shots from both Vinny Bailey and Danny Lambert, with the latter coming from a fantastic individual run from midfield, came on 46 and 63 minutes respectively. The game, though, was injected with excitement on 69 minutes with North End pulling a goal back. Atherton failed to clear their lines and paid their price for this – the tall Moussa Samassa clawed the ball into the back of the net. Poor defensive work from Clegg’s men here, but a smart intersection by Samassa.
The Collieries did well to remain calm and continued to hold possession with confidence despite numerous injuries out on the field, however on the 90th minute Atherton lost the ball again and chassed it towards goal. In a last gasp, almost tired attempt to clear danger a foul in the area resulted in a North End penalty - a fantastic chance to leave the Skuna with a point to their name. Jack Tuhoy took responsibility, but his penalty was met by a fantastic Hartley save. The Colls stopper, once again, saved the day.
In a game of so many potential banana-skins, a fantastic three points for Atherton. Glossop have every right to feel slightly aggrieved not to have left the Skuna with at least a point to their name, but a superior Colls showing made the difference. Many injuries were suffered in that second half showing, so fair play to the lads for battling on heroically.
Our next game is on Boxing Day away at Trafford. Combine your Boxing Day sales shopping at the Trafford Centre with an afternoon of football. Up the Colls!
Match Report: Zach Pierce
Photograph: David Featherstone