Report: AFC Darwen 1-5 Colls

HIGH FIVE FOR COLLS IN DARWEN ROMP AFC Darwen 1 Atherton Collieries 5

With the Hallmark Security League Premier Division season interrupted even at this early stage by FA Cup commitments, it has been something of a disjointed start to the campaign for Michael Clegg’s black and whites, but they maintained their unbeaten league record for a third successive game with a comfortable victory away to AFC Darwen. Fielding debutants Matty Chadwick and Rhys Nevins on either flank, Colls started brightly and went in front on nine minutes when Chadwick swung a free kick from the right hand side that Danny Lafferty helped on past goalkeeper Daniel Fradd, though Darwen midfielder Ryan McKenna may well have got a touch along the way. Mark Battersby went close with a volley on the turn that flashed over the crossbar before the Colls front man showed his abilities in creating chances as the visitors doubled their lead on twenty four minutes, tormenting defender Tim Drugan before getting to the bye line and sitting up a delightful cross that made it all too easy for Ben Hardcastle to nod home from a couple of yards out. As the game headed towards the break, Colls were inches away from a third goal when Nevins nudged a header narrowly wide of the target from a Chadwick cross, with the visitors having to be content with a 2-0 half-time lead. Having threatened only briefly in the first half when Colls goalkeeper Adam Reid was forced in to a smart save low down from Nick Hepple’s header, the hosts came out for the second half in a far more determined mood and halved the deficit inside four minutes of the restart when Hepple swept home a rebound after Reid had done well to save a header from a left-sided free kick. Conceding that goal spurred Colls back in to action and it took them only two minutes to restore their two goal advantage when Chadwick broke quickly on the right hand side to feed Hardcastle who’s low cross left Battersby with an easy finish for his second goal of the evening and notably notch up a century of goals for the club. Having provided the assist for the third goal, Hardcastle then made it 4-1 on fifty five minutes when left with a simple finish after Fradd had parried a Battersby half-volley in to the path of the Colls flyer. Nevins and Chadwick were withdrawn after seventy one minutes with Dave Sherlock and Mark Truffas introduced to proceedings, and Sherlock could have found himself on the scoresheet eight minutes later when he found himself one-on-one with Fradd from a Battersby through ball but found himself denied by a decent save. Sherlock returned the favour moments later and played a lovely dinked ball through for Battersby but he also found himself denied by Fradd with another smart stop. Brad Cooke had once again been a busy figure in the Colls engine room and he was withdrawn for Kristian Holt after seventy eight minutes as the game headed towards its inclusion. Fradd again made an impressive save as the clock ticked in to stoppage time, palming wide a Gareth Peet shot after the Colls left back had cut inside, but there was nothing he could do two minutes in to added time when a Truffas corner found Vinny Bailey on the edge of the penalty area who manage to inadvertently beat one man before expertly placing a shot through a sea of bodies in to the bottom corner of the net for a fifth Collieries goal. Last season’s meeting between the sides at the Anchor Ground ended in a 7-3 victory for the visitors, and there was a brief moment where that margin of victory may have been beaten with what turned out to be the final action of the game were it not once again for the intervention of Fradd, doing well to deny Bailey a second goal as he tried to lift the ball over him having raced on to a Battersby flick on the back of some cute build up play. This Saturday sees Colls travel to face Barnton before a quick turnaround sees AFC Liverpool visit The Kensite Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday (29th August) for a 3pm kick off. Atherton Collieries; Adam Reid, Jamie Forbes, Gareth Peet, Vinny Bailey, Mark Ayres, Danny Lafferty, Matty Chadwick (Mark Truffas 71), Brad Cooke (Kristian Holt 78), Mark Battersby, Ben Hardcastle, Rhys Nevins (Dave Sherlock 71). Subs (not used); Jake Kenny, Matt Grimshaw Attendance: 157 Match report by Matt Lawton  

Squad Update: 06/06/2024

Atherton Collieries would like to wish the best of luck to midfielders Nathan Caine and Ben Rydel, who have today departed the Skuna Stadium to

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