Report: AFC Liverpool 1-2 Atherton Collieries

League leaders Atherton Collieries travelled to AFC Liverpool on Grand National weekend. Friday night football was back and a healthy crowd of 211 came out to cheer on the sides. Colls had beaten Barnoldswick Town 2-1 on Tuesday night and saw off Liverpool in similar fashion to further strengthen their promotion credentials with six matches remaining. AFC Liverpool had beaten Collieries earlier in the season and were more than capable of doing the double over Michael Clegg's side. They defended resolutely, attacked with pace and their goalkeeper was in inspired form. Collieries made the better start and applied a lot of early pressure as they attacked the main stand at Marine's resplendent abode. Darrhyl Mason and Jordan Cover worked tirelessly throughout the first half, along with Ben Hardcastle on the wing. Despite all their efforts they simply couldn't find a way past Ross Dalton. After just two minutes Cover found himself through on goal after springing the offside trap. Reds defender Danny Hughes managed to track back in the nick of time. Immediately the home side broke through the pacy Emini Adegbenro who collected possession in midfield and burst forward. In turn, he set up Conor Smith who hit a strong effort towards goal but it was palmed away by Adam Reid. It was an end-to-end affair, with Colls having the greater share of chances. It was Mason who was the next to go close for the Collieries who were in their traditional black and white colours. His effort from the edge of the area was saved but it was clear a goal was coming. On 17 minutes it looked as if Colls had scored when Brad Cooke met a corner at the near post. Hardcastle fired the precise corner in and the captain was first time meet it, glancing his header towards the top left hand corner. Dalton again with a strong flying save. It was against the context of the play when Liverpool took the lead through Conor Smith on 22 minutes. Collieries were bitterly disappointed to go behind in the manner they did after a calamity at the back. It won't be dwelled upon though as mistakes happen and defensively, Colls have been outstanding in the majority of matches this season. There was no need to panic, although the Colls fans were beginning to wonder if it would be one of those nights when four offsides were given against Cover and Mason in quick succession. On another occasion they would have been through on goal with a fantastic opportunity to score. On 31 minutes, Hardcastle raced into the area and picked his spot. Dalton pulled off a save, again. The next attack saw Mason burst into the area and send a dangerous ball across the face of goal; the final touch couldn't quite be applied and another chance went begging. Wave after wave of Colls attacks followed. Vinny Bailey had arguably the best chance when Hardcastle threaded through a defence splitting ball to leave him one-to-one with Dalton. You can guess what happened next, Dalton rushed out and averted the danger with a brave save. The half time whistle sounded. Colls, despite being behind, could be happy with their efforts so far. On another evening they could have found themselves comfortably in front. Half time - AFC Liverpool 1-0 Atherton Collieries The second half started off at a slower tempo than its predecessor. Emini Adegbenro had a notable chance but it was dealt with by a Colls defence that looked far more solid after the break. Man of the match, Brad Cooke was replaced by George West on the hour mark after sustaining a slight injury. The young attacker on loan from Stockport County put in a performance that arguably changed the match and he was rightfully praised by the management team and fans after the game. On 61 minutes, Collieries equalised through Jordan Cover. The opportunity was crafted by West who took the ball down the right hand side before cutting in and curling an effort towards goal. It was parried to the edge of the area where Jordan Cover was able to get his foot over the ball, hammer it into the turf and it bounced over Dalton into the left hand corner. Did he mean it? Probably. Collieries were now well on top and looked favourites to go on and grab an elusive goal. Gareth Peet came close to adding another goal to his tally this campaign when he took a free kick on the edge of the area. Dalton did well to claw the ball away from the corner and out of play. On 78 minutes, Colls hard work paid off when unlikely goalscorer Jamie Forbes grabbed what could prove to be a huge goal in the title race. Liverpool had dealt with a corner but play was immediately spread out to the right hand flank where Hardcastle was found. He beat his man with face and fired a low ball across the face of goal. Forbes, who had stayed up from the set piece controlled the ball and finished calmly into the back of the net in front of the visiting supporters. There were nervy moments in the closing stages but Collieries saw out the game, keeping the ball in the corner for the majority of stoppage time. An excellent win against a strong AFC Liverpool side. There are now just six matches remaining and Colls fate is very much in their own hands. The next match is on Monday night when Winsford United are the visitors to The Kensite Stadium. Atherton Collieries - Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, Gareth Peet, Josh Messer, Matt Grimshaw, Jamie Forbes, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Darrhyl Mason, Jordan Cover, Vinny Bailey - Substitutes - George West, Mark Truffas, Dave Sherlock, James Brooks, Johnny Gorman Attendance 211 Match report by Joseph Gibbons Photo by David Featherstone 

Vacancy: Kit Man/Woman

Atherton Collieries are currently looking for someone to fill the position of First Team Kit Man or Woman ahead of the 2024/25 Northern Premier League

Read More