The anticipation of the commencement of the league season is always palpable. Once the campaign starts, fixtures appear like London buses. Just a week in, Saturday’s home fixture with Nottinghamshire’s Basford United is instalment three of the forty-two game grind.
It is always good to get points on the board at the earliest opportunity; Luca Defreitas-Hansen’s header made the difference in the game against Hyde and secured an opening three points for the Collieries. Tuesday night, however, told a different story as the Colls came up against an impressive Nantwich Town outfit. Despite the 2-0 defeat, Cooke was proud of his lad’s performance and rightly so. Atherton limited Nantwich to two goals from dead ball situations – Sean Cooke with a penalty at first, before the midfielder curled a sublime free-kick into the top corner of the goal. Despite being down to 10 men for the majority of the second half, Atherton took the game to Nantwich and forced the Dabber’s defense to work for their clean sheet. Young gun Luke Hutchinson was rightly crowned the Bolton Arena Man of the Match, his acrobatic goalkeeping display earned five-star reviews from those in attendance.
Basford are still searching for their first win of the season. In last week’s season opener United earned a credible point against Scarborough Athletic in a 0-0 draw. Tuesday night’s encounter with Matlock Town did not end as positively however, the Nottingham-based club fell to a 2-1 defeat – Rev James’ consolation offered some hope in the dying embers of the game.
The last meeting between the two sides came in the curtailed 2019/20 season. February 2020 saw Cooke and Co firmly at the helm by this point. The Black and White’s first visit to United’s Mill Street Playing Field was not a happy one; a 2-1 defeat that day in what was a close game of football despite Storm Dennis’ best laid plans. Atherton opened the scoring with a superb 25-yard effort from Cain Noble, Basford’s Matthew Thornhill and Nat Watson turned the game around for the then championship-chasing side. This win completed the league double as they had plundered the spoils at the Skuna. They were good value for the 3-1 victory and the only highlight from a Colls perspective was Jordan Cover’s late consolation goal. His nondescript close-range effort saw him overtake his ex-strike partner Mark Battersby at the top of the all-time goalscoring hit parade.
Looking ahead to this fixture, Cooke said, “They are going to be a good side. I think Basford will be up there, there’s no doubt about that - they will be pushing the top end of the table. It is going to be another tough day for us but if we apply ourselves like we did in the second half of the Nantwich game, we will be okay.”
Following the devastating news of ex-player Kieran Halliwell’s passing, there will be a minutes tribute before kick-off. Kieran was a popular character throughout our local football community and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and condolences are with Kieran’s family at this incredibly difficult time.
Saturday 21st August 2021
The Skuna Stadium,
Adults – £10
Concessions – £6
Under 18’s – £4
Under 11’s – Free
Please note, new 1916 Club Membership Cards will be available to collect on the gate.
Article – Emil Anderson and Zach Pierce