Atherton Collieries failed to make it four home wins in a row in the Pitching In Northern Premier League, falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Whitby Town. Brad Cooke made two changes to the line-up which beat Grantham Town the just three days earlier. Club captain, Danny Lafferty, came in to replace Luca Defreitas-Hansen, while further forward, Elliot Rokka came into the starting eleven to replace Matty Gillam.
Both teams beagn the early exchanges of the game implementing similar playing styles to each other; using their physicality and high work-rate to try and gain an edge.
The vast majority of the match saw very few clear-cut chances for either side, but the first half saw the best opportunities fall to Colls.
Chances from Clive Smith, Niall Battersby and Marcus Cusani coming in quick succession of each other could have put the hosts into the lead within the first 20 minutes.
But the best chance of the game fell to Elliot Rokka. He did well to block a clearance from the Whitby shot-stopper, but Rokka somehow managed to put his effort wide of the post.
After the home side’s initial dominance in the early exchanges, Whitby started to test Danny Taberner in the Colls goal. Jacob Hazel managed to get his free kick over the wall, but Tabs in goal did well to get down to deny the effort. Josh Macdonald also had a decent chance, striking the ball from the edge of the box inches over the crossbar.
As the referee sounded the whistle for half-time, given the chances created, Colls may have felt that they should have gone into the changing room with at least a one goal lead.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to make their mark on the second half.
A free kick from Liam Cooke crashes the post from 30 yards, and the ball takes a fortunate rebound to the onrushing Hazel to tap the ball in from a few yards out. The striker making it 9 goals in 9 appearances for the Seasiders.
From then on, very little was created by either side. Colls lacked the killer instinct in front of goal and some sloppy passing meant that Cooke’s men couldn’t find their rhythm to challenge for the equalising goal.
As the referee blew the whistle for full time, Colls may have felt they should have at least a point out of the game. A special mention goes to Joel Amado, who played on the left of the back three, who not only defended admirably against some very physical attackers, but used the ball expertly with his passing. Deserved the Bolton Arena Man of the Match award. Colls welcome Witton Albion to the Skuna Stadium for the return of the FA Cup on Saturday 18th September, kicking off at 3:00pm. We can’t wait to see you there.
Atherton Collieries Lineup: Danny Taberner, Clive Smith, Gaz Peet, Niall Batterby, Danny Lafferty (C), Joel Amado, Ethen Kershaw (Dylan Glass 75’), Danny Lambert, Marcus Cusani, Jack Lenehan (Lewis Doyle 60’), Elliot Rokka (Ben Conway 64’)Unused Subs: Luke Hutchinson, Luca Defreitas-HansenBolton Arena Man of the Match: Joel Amado Written by: John Holland
Photography: Dave Featherstone