Report: Colls 5-1 Eccleshall

Following three successive cup games, in three different cup competitions, the Collieries returned to league action on Saturday as they welcomed Eccleshall to Alder House. The last time the two clubs met came six weeks ago when a packed (both of players and supporters) ‘fun bus’ made the journey south to Pershall Park. Eccleshall were the first to score in that game, a defensive error allowed Steve Hughes to score. However, the Colls ran out 3-1 winners after a hat-trick from Mark Battersby. Atherton manager Micheal Clegg had a few injuries to contend with but still managed to field a strong and competitive side in what was yet another entertaining NWCFL game. The game started very well for the Collieries as they took the lead within the first five minutes. The ball was played through to the positionly advanced Ben Hardcastle; Hardcastle ran centrally on goal and controlled the ball played through to him. Hardcastle, now in the Eccleshall penalty area, curled the ball around the onrushing goalkeeper, Brandon McEleny, and into the back of the net. A fine start made by the black and whites. On the quarter past mark, Hardcastle nearly found himself with two goals. Gareth Peet sent a free kick in from the far right side of the pitch. The ball curled into the packed penalty area, defender Gaz Carson managed to head the ball down to Hardcastle on the edge of the area, Hardcastle volleyed the ball in the direction of the top left hand corner, denied only by the palms of McEleny. Five minutes later, another good chance drifted wide of goal. Boland collected and controlled the ball after it was played down to him on the left wing, Boland advanced towards goal and his job was made easier after Eccleshall defender Jake McKay slipped and with it left Boland with space and a path towards the Eccleshall goal. Boland advanced deeper towards goal but could only curl his shot wide. A period of both teams sharing possession was played out for ten minutes as Eccleshall looked to stop waves of Colls’ attacks. On 30 minutes, Eccleshall nearly found a way back into the game. Stephen Hughes made his way up the right wing and to the edge of Atherton’s area, defender Carson managed to tackle Hughes but the loose ball was picked up by Eccleshall’s Thomas Wakefield, inside the D. However, Wakefield tapped the ball wide. Four minutes later, the Collieries found themselves two goals to the good, and in some style. The Colls were awarded a free kick around thirty yards from goal, Peet stepped up to take the free kick and scored a superb effort as he curled effort around the wall and straight into the top right hand corner of the goal. However, with only four minutes till half time, Eccleshall pulled a goal back. An Eccleshall corner was whipped into the packed Atherton box and the defence struggled to clear. With the ball at his feet, Adam Jones poked the ball into the back of the net. Half Time – Atherton Collieries 2-1 Eccleshall For the opening periods of the second half, very little chances were created with both sides forced to play out a midfield battle as they struggled to break each other down. This was until the 63 minutes when Mark Battersby got his first of the game. A long ball was sent forward from midfield for Battersby to run onto and chip over the onrushing McEleny, Battersby made the goal look effortless. Just three minutes later and Battersby had scored his second of the game and the Collieries third. After Battersby had found himself with the ball in the box he fired his shot at goal. However, Battersby was denied by a McEleny save, the ball was parried straight into the path of Battersby who recollected and fired the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, a ball which evaded the Eccleshall defence was played across the path of the Eccleshall box. Substitute Jordan Cover, fired his shot well over the bar however after he ran onto it. On 83 minutes, the Colls hit the woodwork from a corner. The corner was curled into the box, directed for the far post. Carson ran onto the ball, only for his tap to bounce back of the post. There was enough time for Atherton to get their fourth and final goal of the afternoon on 85 minutes. Cover made amends for his earlier miss after he capitalised on McKay’s failure to deal with a long Collieries’ ball, just inside the area. Cover took a touch, and placed the ball past McEleny. Full Time – Atherton Collieries 5-1 Eccleshall Yet another good win for the Collieries in what was an important league game. The next game for the Colls comes on Monday when Chadderton are welcomed to Alder House, as always your support will e greatly appreciated.  

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