Atherton Collieries kicked off their Lancashire Challenge Trophy campaign with a convincing 4-0 victory over Colne FC. Colls faced a tough opening fixture to their Lancashire Challenge Trophy campaign, an away tie with the 2019/20 finalists, Colne FC.
Brad Cooke made numerous changes to the line-up which eased past Witton Albion in the FA Cup the Saturday before. Notably, a welcome return for Bolton Wanderers loanee, Luke Hutchinson, who featured for the first time since being stretchered off after a heavy arial dual against Lancaster City at the end of August.
Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Matty Gillam, Lewis Doyle and Dylan Glass were also brought into the starting eleven in replacement of Clive Smith, Gaz Peet, Ethan Kershaw and Marcus Cusani. A case of a well-deserved break for the substitutes due to the congested fixture list.
The game also saw a change in formation for Colls; reverting to a four at the back instead of the usual back five implemented in recent weeks by Cooke. Niall Battersby and Joel Amado, who usually act as the ball-playing centre-backs, providing the width at full-back in this game.
As the game got underway, the early exchanges were a case of both sides settling into the game, not one team particularly dominating the opening minutes, but also no changes of note.
However, around 15 minutes in, Colls kicked into gear.
The first chance of the game fell to Elliot Rokka, who was playing on the left, cutting inside to curl a shot inches wide of the left-hand post. Ben Conway also got into a decent position, but his strike on goal was tame.
Two minutes later, Colls grabbed their first goal. A corner kick which was challenged by Hansen and Colne’s young keeper, Ewan McFarlane, who manages to punch the ball clear but then goes down injured under the challenge. Meanwhile, the ball falls to Danny Lambert at the edge of the area who strikes the ball cleanly into the roof of the net. Despite the calls for the referee to give a foul or stop play, he waved away the appeals and gave Colls the goal.
After the goal, Colls settled into a rhythm which dominated the majority of possession but the home side defended resolutely for large parts of the first half. However, eventually the pressure took its toll.
Just moments before the end of the first half, Colls doubled their lead. An immaculate threaded pass from Glass found Conway in behind the Colne back-line, who curls a wonderful effort into the top corner. A great move ended with a very smart finish.
The second half saw Colls’ dominance carry on from the first half. It took under a minute into proceedings for Rokka to put the ball in the back of the Colne net, but the celebrations were cut short due to the assistant raising his flag for offside.
Rokka did eventually get the goal he was looking for about ten minutes later, who found himself one-on-one with the keeper and calmly slots it into the bottom corner.
It was three minutes later that Colls got their fourth of the tie. Dylan Glass getting the goal his performance deserved, taking advantage of the ball spilling out of the keeper’s grasp from a corner.
The latter stages of the game didn’t see many more clear-cut chances, but Colls continued to dominate possession and limit the home side to next-to-no chances.
An extremely positive display and performance from Brad Cooke’s men sees them progress into the second round of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy. To find out who Colls will face in that tie, follow us on our social media channels. Colls’ next fixture sees the return of league football, as the lads travel to Stafford Rangers on Saturday 25th September, kick-off 3:00pm. Be sure to follow our social media channels for ticket information.
Atherton Collieries Line-up: Luke Hutchinson, Niall Battersby, Danny Lafferty (C), Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Joel Amado, Lewis Doyle (Ethan Kershaw, 62’), Danny Lambert, Ben Conway, Matty Gillam (Marcus Cusani, 62’), Dylan Glass (Clive Smith, 79’), Elliot Rokka.Unused Subs: Danny Taberner, Jack LenehanBolton Arena Man of the Match: Danny LambertWritten By: John Holland