After a 291-day break, the Pitching in Northern Premier League returns this Saturday as the Collieries make the short journey to Hyde United’s Project Solar UK Stadium. Unfortunately, soon after the convincing 3-0 victory away at Stafford Rangers in October 2020, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic put an end to Brad Cooke’s first full season in charge. Cooke and his staff will be hoping to continue the fine form with which Atherton left the 20/21 season into it's 21/22 incarnation. It has been a busy summer for the Colls with Luke Hutchinson, Joel Amado, Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Ethan Kershaw, Jack Lenehan, Liam Martin and Scott Sephton all joining the Black and Whites and available for Saturday’s outing.
Despite previous outings being few and far between, games against Hyde United always seem to fall at pivotal moments for the Collieries. The first meeting between the two clubs was in 1950 and saw Atherton knocked out of the FA Cup in the Preliminary Round of the 1950/51 season. Knocked out is a bit of an understatement, 5-0 the final score - a thrashing so severe that the Black and Whites did not feature in the FA Cup again until the 1994/95 season. More recently, the Colls met Hyde in their first ever Northern Premier League campaign. Unfortunately, United once again got the better of Atherton and won 4-0 easing down. The last time the two sides met Atherton were very much in transition, the first official game with the ‘new management’ of Cooke, Sadler and co at the helm; a strong 2-1 home win in this instance with the two Dannys on the scoresheet – O’Brien and Lafferty.
Speaking of the game, Assistant Manager Rob Sadler said, “We are looking forward to it. It has been about pre-season over the past few months. I think the boys are ready, they’re chomping at the bit now to go and take them on next week.”
Competitive football has been a long time coming for Cooke and his side, but the wait is finally over. As always, the lads really appreciate your support. In the words of debutant Ethan Kershaw, “Come and support us, make your voices loud and we will make you proud.” I couldn’t put it better myself.
Saturday 14th August 2021
The Project Solar UK Stadium,
Adults - £10
Concessions - £7
U16 - £5
Article - Zach Pierce and Emil Anderson
Photo - David Featherstone