Atherton Collieries claimed their third victory of the Pitching In Northern Premier League season, with a rampant 5-0 win against Bamber Bridge at the Skuna stadium. Four goals in the first half – a brace from Jordan Darr and a goal apiece from both Danny Lafferty and Elliot Rokka – were rounded off by a second half Jack Banister strike to seal the three points.
Both sides started the game slowly, attempting to gain the upper hand in a tightly fought contest. Despite an ongoing battle in the middle of the pitch, neither were able to make the breakthrough early on.
Bamber Bridge had the first chance of note, the Colls struggled to deal with an in-swinging free-kick and defender Clive Smith cleared the ball off the line to prevent the visitors from opening the scoring.
This clearance seemed to inspire Colls as they raised their game and raced forward with Jordan Darr who made his way into the box and was bundled to the floor, the referee awarding a penalty.
Darr stepped up to take the spot kick and kept his nerve, smashing the ball past Danny Roccia in the Bamber Bridge goal. In doing so, the forward scored his first goal of the season and put Colls 1-0 ahead.
With Brad Cooke’s men now firmly in the driving seat, they were controlling possession and looked lively in front of goal as they were presented with an opportunity to double their advantage.
Bamber Bridge’s defender was adjudged to have committed a back pass, having knelt down on his hands and knees to ‘head’ the ball back to ‘keeper Roccia and Colls were given an indirect free-kick.
Captain Danny Lafferty was on hand to smash the ball into the back of the net via the post as he found a way past what was seemingly all eleven of the visitor’s side on the goal line.
Gathering momentum, Colls had a third goal only two minutes later. Elliot Rokka skipped through the Bamber Bridge defence and rounded Roccia, who was having an evening to forget, allowing the attacker to tap into an empty net.
Almost unbelievably, Colls made it four less than 60 seconds later. Boosted by his first strike earlier in the half, Jordan Darr was played through on goal and slotted into the net with ease.
As the half-time whistle was sounded, Colls had scored three goals in four minutes and were deservedly in dreamland.
When the second half got underway, Bamber Bridge made changes and posed more of a threat on the Colls goal.
Danny Forbes weaved his way into the box and went down under a challenge but was denied a penalty by the referee before Rowan Roache volleyed over the bar when the ball broke to him on the edge of the area from a free kick.
These opportunities for the visitors sent a warning to Colls to maintain full concentration on the task at hand and Cooke’s side clearly took note of it as they looked for another goal.
Brig’s ‘keeper saved well from Marcus Cusani at close range before Jordan Darr’s attempt for a hat trick with an overhead kick went over the bar.
New signing Jack Lenehan was then brought on from the bench as well as the introductions of Dylan Glass and Jack Banister respectively.
It would be substitute Banister who capped off a five-star performance from the Colls with the final goal of the evening.
Banister latched onto a cross-field ball and ran at the Bamber Bridge defence before unleashing a strike at goal which cannoned in off the bar, perhaps the pick of the evening’s goals for the purists.
Aside from a red card for the visitors’ Chris Marlow for a second yellow card following a foul on Ben Conway, the final part of the contest was played out with little action of note.
With the final whistle came Colls’ biggest ever win in the Northern Premier League, a remarkable evening down at the Skuna stadium.
Atherton Collieries’ next game comes this Saturday 24th October as we make the trip to Witton Albion in the Pitching In Northern Premier League. Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Clive Smith, Gareth Peet, Danny Lambert, Danny Lafferty, Niall Battersby, Ben Conway, Vinny Bailey, Jordan Darr (Dylan Glass), Elliot Rokka (Jack Lenehan), Marcus Cusani (Jack Banister)Goal(s): Jordan Darr (25′, 38’), Danny Lafferty (35’), Elliot Rokka (37’), Jack Banister (71’)Rama Spice Man of the Match: Jordan Darr (Sponsored by DiscountsHealthService.com – Kindly supporting the NHS since 2001)Matchball Sponsor: M Logan & Sons Attendance: 301
Report: Ben Olawumi
Photograph: Rob Clarke