The FA Vase is a cup competition cherished by every Step Five and Step Six club that enters it. It is a chance for so many clubs to dream the undreamable and reach Wembley Stadium. After seeing off Ashton Athletic at the second time of asking in the last round, the Collieries faced Northern League opposition at Alder House in the form of Newcastle Benfield Newcastle’s ‘most successful Non-League Football Club’. The rumoured two fan coaches didn't make the journey south but there was still a lively cup atmosphere.
Manager Michael Clegg couldn't make the game so assistant manager Warren Jones and first team coach Andrew Heald took the reins as they looked to progress to the Second Round Proper of this fantastic competition. Jones made a few changes to the side that beat Litherland REMYCA as Brad Cooke came in at centre back with Jordan Cover and James Kirby also taking the top spots in a 4-4-2 formation. New names on the bench were Lewis Coleman and Mark Drew. Mark's Ayres and Battersby were suspended.
The first effort of the game came on the seventh minute as Atherton won a free kick on the top right hand corner of the Benfield area. Wide-man Mark Truffas took the responsibility and curled the ball deep into the box. Cooke was first to the ball up but his tapped effort was straight at Goalkeeper Sam Busby.
Sixty seconds later and Benfield created their first opportunity of the game. Captain Paul Bryson cut inside from the right wing and made his way into the Collieries’ area. However, Bryson scuffed his shot which was picked up by Danny Taberner with ease.
Newcastle had another chance to take the lead nine minutes into the game. The ball was played diagonally across the field to Mark Convery who bought the ball down and knocked onto player-manager Steven Bowey. The midfielder took a touch before he fired well over the bar.
The visitors were on top in this brief period of the game. On 12 minutes, only a fine challenge from Colls’ Callum Jones on Brayson prevented the forward as he attempted to cause yet more havoc in the Atherton box.
An Atherton counter-attack move on 28 minutes saw the black and whites almost take the lead. After he collected in midfield, Ben Hardcastle pelted down his right-wing. The lively right-winger played the ball across to Jordan Cover at the far-post. Cover headed the ball at goal and was only denied by an Owen Walker goal-line clearance.
On 35 minutes, after pressure in midfield, the Collieries took the lead. Truffas charged the ball down and made his way into the danger area. The seemingly unstoppable wide-man curled his shot past Busby and into the back of the net. A fine individual effort from Truffas in what was his 100th appearance in black and white
Atherton had one more effort before the break. Cover placed his shot well over the bar after he had the ball threaded through to him from midfield.
Half Time – Atherton Collieries 1-0 Newcastle Benfield
Truffas got his second of the game two minutes after the restart. After he took the ball past the Benfield defender, Truffas finished in the far corner ten yards from goal. Again, another fine goal from Truffas who deserved his Man of the Match accreditation.
Two minutes from the hour mark the Collieries had a superb chance to make it three. Kris Holt thundered through from midfield into the Benfield area. Unfortunately, his fierce shot bounced straight back off the post and away from danger.
It was a case of misfortune for Cover again on 63 minutes. A cross was drilled into the Newcastle box to Cover who was perfectly placed on the far post. As the target man was about to head at goal, Benfield’s Richard Slaughter managed to back step and head the ball away.
One of Cover’s last contributions to the game came on 70 minutes. The energetic forward chased down a loose ball and curled his run around the two deep Benfield defenders. He ran clear on goal but shot narrowly wide.
With only 14 minutes left on the clock, TV star Josh Messer warmed the palms of Busby. From a corner, the ball fell to him and although his volley hit the target it was straight at Busby
Full Time – Atherton Collieries 2-0 Newcastle Benfield
The first half was even Stevens but Colls took control after Truffas' first goal. Danny Taberner had little to do after the break as the black n white stripes kept a second successive clean sheet. Benfield tried hard but their friendly and objective committeemen acknowledged that Colls deserved their place in the draw for the Second Round. Mark Truffas was in inspirational form but it was a genuine fine team performance.
We will now face Chadderton at home in the next round.
Teams - Coming soon