Report: Ashton Athletic 0-4 Colls

Colls make the short trip to Brocstedes Park revitalised following the weekend victory over Maine Road. Ashton were in a rich vein of form and nurtured hopes of repeating the 2-0 triumph in the corresponding game last season. Athletic had a gilt edged chance to edge in front within 30 seconds of the KO. Star of last season’s game Isaac Kusaloka found himself free in the box but he spooned his shot well over the bar. A let off for Michael Clegg’s boys. This focused Colls minds and they started to play a nice footballing game. Athletic keeper Martin Pearson saved a well hit Mark Battersby cross shot before Ben Hardcastle narrowly missed the target from out wide. The opening goal came in the 13th minute. Mark Truffas released Hardcastle in the box and his initial effort was foiled by Pearson. However he showed good tenacity and perseverance to gobble up the loose ball and tap it into the empty net. The lead was deserved and the attacks continued. A Hardcastle centre was flicked on by Battersby and Darrhyl Mason was inches away from getting a touch at the far post. Athletic were playing there part in a good game and a cross cum shot cannoned off Jamie Forbes’ head but Adam Reid read the deflection perfectly. A Forbes header was chased down by Mason in the box and he was upended by a defender. There was no malice in the challenge but it was a penalty and Battersby sent Pearson the wrong way to double the advantage. As the half drew to a close Truffas shot wide and Vinny Bailey showed exquisite skill on the edge of the box but his finish just went over with Pearson stranded. By common consent easily Colls best first half display of the campaign. The hosts managerial trio got to work on the charges during the 15 minute break and they came out all guns blazing but the Colls rearguard were in a mean mood and determined to keep a second consecutive clean sheet. Colls increased their lead on 60 minutes. Neat play saw the ball reach Truffas 25 yards out and he unerringly bent it into the top corner. Pearson was given no chance whatsoever. A true Truffs special. Athletic forced a number of corners and their statuesque defenders marched forward but they weren’t given any opportunities to get headers on target. Colls passing was a joy to watch and the top hat was put on it in injury time. The ball broke to Justin Pickering and he found an unmarked Hardcastle who rifled his shot into the bottom near post corner of the net from 20 yards. A tremendous Atherton Collieries performance against a good Hallmark Security Premier Division outfit. Attendance - 141 Match report by Emil Anderson Photo: David Featherstone

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