Atherton Collieries exited the FA Cup in heartbreaking circumstances, following a thrilling encounter in the Third Qualifying Round replay at Marine. Colls came out of the blocks the better side in the early exchanges of the game. With just five minutes on the clock, Colls should have been in the lead. Marcus Cusani collects the ball and lays it off to Gaz Peet in acres of space, but unfortunately he puts the effort wide.
Shortly after, a Colls corner falls to Dylan Glass who smartly turns and shoots through a field of shirts, but Passant in the Marine goal did well to turn the effort round the post.
After the initial Colls onslaught, the home side started to settle into the game, and as it turns out, Colls would be left to rue their missed opportunities.
The Marine right-back, Kyle Hayde, collects the ball and produces a low driven 25-yead strike that beats Danny Taberner.
The goal seemed to take the wind out the sails for Colls, as the home side started to dominate proceedings. Colls struggled to get out of their own half.
It was around 10 minutes before the end of the first half that Marine doubled their lead, Wignall with the close-range effort following a perfectly weighted through-ball from Kengni.
Just moments later, it was almost curtains for Colls as a Marine corner it met and crashes against the crossbar. Fortunately for Brad Cooke and his men, they managed to hold on until the half-time interval with just a two-goal deficit.
Brad Cooke made two changes for the second half, Luca Defreitas-Hansen and Dylan Glass making way for Ben Conway and Matty Gillam. This also a meant a change of system, reverting to a four at the back. And what inspired changes they turned out to be.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Ben Conway finds himself one-on-one with Passant and neatly slots his effort into the corner. An instant impact from the substitute.
The subsequent Colls attack saw Cusani through on goal, but his left-footed effort struck the base of the post.
After initially blowing Marine out of the water early in the second half, Colls couldn’t find that elusive equalising goal.
The game started to become very similar to the previous fixture; end-to-end at times, but overall quite even. Both sides had decent sights of the goal, but nothing clear-cut.
That was until the dying embers of the game.
Colls win a corner on the 90th minute and pile players into the area, including Taberner. As the ball is cleared by the Marine defence, Ben Conway collects it from at the edge of the area and produces a sublime strike into the top corner. Absolute scenes from the players, coaching staff and fans alike.
No less than the second half performance deserved, Colls had come back from a two-goal deficit and the game went to extra time.
The additional 30 minutes saw a much more cagey affair. Marine had the lying share of possession, but Colls were a threat on the counter-attack.
It almost paid off in the second half of extra time for Colls. Cusani was presented with a great chance to win it as he found himself one-on-one with Passant, but the keeper does exceptionally well to spread himself and deny the Colls front man.
It wasn’t until the final minute of extra time when the game was put on it’s head. Penalty to Marine. The referee deeming that Alex Doyle had been fouled in the area. A decision that no one could quite believe had been given, including a selection of the home fans.
James Barrigan converted the penalty well to win the tie for Marine. Colls’ FA Cup journey had come to an end.
Upon reflection, Brad Cooke and his men can keep their heads held high. Playing a total of 210 minutes in the two matches over just a few days is no mean feat. Every single player showed immense character to come back from two goals down, and despite the heartbreaking fashion which the game ended, these lads will bounce back. A credit to the club and community alike. Colls’ next fixture sees the return of league football, as they Matlock Town to the Skuna Stadium on Saturday 9th October, kick-off 3:00pm. Be sure to follow our social media channels for ticket information.
Atherton Collieries Line-up: Danny Taberner, Clive Smith, Gaz Peet, Luca Defreitas-Hansen (Ben Conway, 46’), Danny Lafferty (C), Joel Amado, Scott Sephton (Elliot Rokka, 67’), Danny Lambert, Dylan Glass (Matty Gillam, 46’), Jack Lenehan, Marcus Cusani.Unused Subs: Lewis Doyle, Niall BattersbyBolton Arena Man of the Match: Joel AmadoWritten By: John Holland