If you had vacated the Skuna Stadium after the opening forty-five minutes you would have left with the feeling that would only be one winner of the first football game of the new decade. However the black and white stripes showed true grit and determination to mount a comeback to down their high flying visitors. The Dolly Blues were excellent in the first half. Led by the evergreen midfield dynamo David Norris they dominated proceedings throughout. Brad Cooke’s team playing an against the norm 4-4-2 were ran ragged. Only a great performance from young Colls shot-stopper Paddy Wharton stopped his side going in at the interval needing snookers. City had taken the lead as early as the 16th minute when the effervescent Norris nodded home from close range in the sixteenth minute.
The Colls coaching collective had to more than tinker with their tactics during the break, the team responded positively and within five minutes of the restart the teams were level. A Lancaster defender handled on the edge of his penalty box. Last man definitely, the ref wafted a yellow rather than a red but there were no real strops from the home faithful probably because nobody could definitively say whether it was the right decision or not. Where is Peter Walton when you need him? Anyway from the resultant free kick Gareth Peet bent the ball round the wall and into the bottom left corner of Sam Ashton’s net.
On the hour mark Colls were remarkably ahead. Ben Conway threaded a pass through to Tom Bentham and his smacked effort was too hot for Ashton to handle. Tommy B’s goal celebration was rather muted shall we say given recent shenanigans.
Lancaster edged possession for the remainder of proceedings but could not quite open up a Colls rearguard who defended like their lives depended on it when required to do so.
A brilliant three points against Mark Fell’s top notch team who are odds on favourites to at least qualify for the play offs. The teams meet again the semi final of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy at LFA Headquarters on Wednesday 19 February. Attention is now focused onto visits to Warrington Town and Barrow AFC within the space of 72 hours. Atherton Collieries: Paddy Wharton, Clive Smith, Gareth Peet, John Welsh (Krissy Holt 87′), Danny Lafferty (C), Niall Battersby, Ben Conway, Vinny Bailey (Dave Sherlock 78′), Louis Myers (Cain Noble 73′), Danny O’Brien. Substitutes (not used): Iwan Murray & Danny LambertRama Spice Man of the Match: Paddy Wharton Attendance: 401