Report: Atherton Collieries 2-3 Salford City

On Tuesday, the Collieries welcomed Northern Premier League side Salford City to Alder House for what was their sixth and final pre-season friendly. Atherton fielded a side with no more than ten former Salford players, with Danny Taberner, Mark Ayres and Mark Truffas welcomed back into the Colls starting eleven as they were unavailable for last Saturday’s game away at Eccleshall. Salford City, on the other hand, fielded a strong side which included former Accrington Stanley goalkeeper Jay Lynch and former Manchester United and Watford striker Danny Webber. Despite the fact both sides made an equal start to the game, Salford took the lead on ten minutes. Poor defensive work from the Colls meant that Sam Madeley was able to run through on goal and curl past the now advanced Taberner. After the goal, it was more of the same with regards to possession as both sides attempted to boss the midfield. 15 minutes into the game, Keith Wedge was denied by a Lynch save after a trialist had played the ball through to Wedge on the edge of the Salford area. Taberner had to be alert on 25 minutes when Salford illustrated their forward play yet again. Webber struggled to get past the Collieries’ defensive line and he played the ball through to team mate Madeley. The attacker unleashed his shot on goal for Taberner to collect in the palm of his hands with ease. There was no clear dominator in the game as both sides attempted to break each other down. On 34 minutes, Mark Truffas played an ambitious ball 25 yards out from his left wing toward Mark Battersby who had advanced into the Salford box and latched onto the forward ball. He tried to tap it over Lynch's head, however, the goalkeeper managed to intercept the ball with a smart save. Salford doubled their advantage just eight minutes from the interval. From the left wing, Josh Hancock drilled the ball across the Atherton box for Shelton Payne to bring down on the far right quadrant of the area. The summer signing from FC United twisted and turned around Keith Wedge before he passed onto Gary Stopforth on the edge of the area. He took a touch and then fired into the bottom left hand corner of the Colls goal. Half Time – Atherton Collieries 0-2 Salford City Second half and it was more of the same for both sides. On 55 minutes, Salford’s Webber drilled the ball into the Collieries’ box. This time the ball evaded everyone and was cleared away from danger by Jake Kenny. Atherton found themselves level after two goals in two minutes. The first of said goals came on 65 minutes. Matt Boland hit a fine goal from the wide left wing, around 25 yards from goal. With a cross-come-shot the winger managed to lob the substituted Goalkeeper. Three minutes later and it was Kris Holt who found himself on the scoresheet. Ben Hardcastle tore through midfield and passed the ball through to James Kirby who took a touch, turned and passed to Holt. The midfielder then hit a great shot past the goalkeeper to bring the scores level. Collieries were now looking the most likely to go on and win the match, in what became a very equal encounter with an array of substitutes bringing more energy into the game. Two minutes after Holt’s goal, Taberner was called upon to make a superb save to keep the score level. The goalkeeper got a fingertip to a Salford shot that curled around the defence to tip over the bar. Boland, clearly confident after his fine lob earlier, tried his luck again on 74 minutes, as the Collieries searched for the winner. Again, from 25 yards out, Boland fired an ambitious effort at goal after he spotted the goalkeeper off his line. Unfortunately for Boland, the goalkeeper recovered to tip over the bar. Minutes later, Atherton were on the attack again. Boland pelted down his left wing before he passed the ball across to Holt. He then threaded the ball along to a Trialist who blazed well over the bar. It was a great move and brought more encouragement and confidence ahead of the upcoming season. The Colls slowly began to run their visitors ragged (midway through the second half they made eight substitutions). However, Salford returned to Moor Lane as winners after they scored on 87 minutes. Sam Livesey - who was playing in League Two for Morecambe last season - headed into the back of the net after the ball was played up to him. With seconds left on the clock, the Collieries had one last chance to equalise. A Trialist went on a bamboozling run through towards goal from midfield. Skipping past challenge upon challenge he arrived in the area but he could only curl the ball around the post under pressure. Full Time – Atherton Collieries 2-3 Salford City Clegg and his team will not be disheartened by the result after what was a fine yet close game for both sides. Congratulations to Salford City, and best of luck for the rest of the season. Attention is now turned towards Tuesday 4th August, ahead of the trip to Atherton Laburnum Rovers in the Hospital Cup. Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Keith Wedge, Matt Cross, Mark Ayres, Matt Grimshaw, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke ©, Mark Battersby, Trialist and Mark Truffas – Substitutes: Jimmy Moore, James Kirby, Matt Boland, Ahmed Sullay, Kris Holt. Salford City: Jay Lynch, Dom Smaley, Cavel Coo, Gery Stopeth, Kris Lynch, Steven O’Halloran, Shelton Payne, Luke Giverin, Danny Webber, Same Madely and Josh Hancock – Substitutes: Tunji Moses, Scott Burbon, Micheal Itela, Same Livesy, Jordan Hulme, Matty Coughlan and Steve Howsoon. Match Report – Zach Pierce

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