Atherton Collieries recorded back-to-back home wins with a clinical home performance against Marske United, alleviating slightly the bewilderment of the second half no show at Morpeth Town last time out.
Following injuries to goalkeepers Nico Defreitas-Hansen and Owen Mooney, Mackenzie Chapman was drafted in on loan for the Stripes from Bolton Wanderers, making an instant mark with a solid debut performance.
The game was initially closer than either side would've liked, an end-to-end affair throughout the first half, with both clubs fighting to reduce relegation fears.
With Collieries slowly finding the impetus, backed by great performances from Ben Hardcastle and Gaz Peet, a penalty was eventually won just before the half-time whistle following a clattering tackle on Scott Bakkor, which was converted with ease by Danny Lafferty.
The second half was a continuation of the tense end-to-end affair of the first, with the Black & Whites in the driving seat whilst the visitors threatened on the counter. Their old warhorse debutant Jake Day was a constant menace but was handled efficiently but the Colls rearguard.
Following a succession of chances for the Stripes, Arran Pettifer was the man to ultimately prove decisive, picking up the ball on the edge of his own penalty area and driving the length of the pitch, ultimately burying the ball past a helpless Ollie Swan. Pettifer’s celebratory interaction with the Skuna faithful was a joy to behold. Jesse Ebosele had an opportunity to add some icing to the cake but his close-range effort was cleared off the line.
A monumental maximum return for Brad Cooke’s boys. The league grind continues, next Saturday with a trip to play off protagonists Bamber Bridge. Let’s get behind the lads.
Mackenzie Chapman, Adam Rooney, Gareth Peet (Ebosele 87’), Joel Amado, Danny Lafferty (C), Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Ben Hardcastle, Ollie Brown, Scott Bakkor (Pettifer 45’), Jack Lenehan (Kershaw 83’), Bailey Thompson
Sub not used - Clive Smith
Man of the Match Sponsored by The Trophy Room: Ollie Brown, sponsored by John & Vicki
Match Sponsored by Atherton Cricket Club