Report: Atherton LR 0-3 Atherton Collieries

Following on from the 10-0 demolition of Tempest United in the first round of the Bolton Hospital Cup, Collieries set about retaining their title when they travelled to fierce rivals Atherton Laburnum Rovers. What followed was a very one sided match where only one team ever looked like winning. Colls have enjoyed a lot of success at Crilly Park in recent times, with a notable promotion sealed on their last visit at the end of last season. Three goals and a clean sheet ensured another memorable visit to the north of the town. The match had the physical battles that would be expected in such encounters and Rovers set their stall out early on when Mark Battersby was scythed down just two seconds into the match. There were poor and mistimed challenges from both sides, but the match was well managed by the referee – who with a whistle wrapped around each wrist - ensured nothing got too out of hand. Former Collieries defender Brian Hatton was on hand after just two minutes to clear a well struck Gareth Peet volley off the line. It was a sign of things to come as the visitors lay siege to the Rovers goal for the opening 20 minutes. The next move which came just a minute later was so direct that it had to be seen to be believed. Danny Taberner launched a goal kick towards the left hand touchline where Mark Battersby outjumped his marker. He chested the ball forward with his first touch and on the volley hit the ball against the left hand post from 30 yards out. It would have been a three touch goal had it have gone in. Rovers’ goalkeeper was doing well to prevent his team from falling behind as he pulled off a couple of fantastic saves. The first came on seven minutes when Gareth Peet picked the ball up in midfield, cut inside and drilled the ball towards the bottom left hand corner. The ball was tipped around the post for a corner and the resulting corner kick was scrambled away. Jordan Cover was denied from a similar position five minutes later and it seemed like it was only a matter of time until Collieries finally broke through a blanket Rovers defence. The home side were living dangerously as shots from Mark Battersby and Jordan Cover were both saved, before Collieries came close again on 28 minutes. Gareth Peet swung in a corner from the right hand side where Mark Battersby met the ball at the near post with a glancing header. The effort beat the goalkeeper but once again was cleared off the line. Two minutes later and Collieries were once again on the attack. The two strikers had been linking well all evening, and Mark Battersby’s through ball to Jordan Cover should have resulted in a goal. However, just as Cover was preparing to shoot the goalkeeper rushed out and tightened the angles making a smart save in the process. The ball was only partially cleared though and from the resulting cross the deadlock was broken. Jake Kenny found himself in an advanced position and sent in a low testing cross from the right, with Battersby and Cover both waiting to pounce a Rovers defender sliced the ball into the back of his own net. Collieries finally had the lead and it was no more than they deserved. Half time – Atherton Laburnum Rovers 0-1 Atherton Collieries The second half saw Collieries attacking uphill and they were able to express themselves with fast, one touch passing football which was a delight to watch. The centre midfielders were having a fantastic match and Brad Cooke and James Ball – who had signed on before the match – enjoyed a lot of possession. Two minutes into the second half Mark Battersby was fouled when he knocked the ball past the Rovers right back. Mark Truffas took the free kick from the left hand side and he curled it over the goalkeepers head into the top right hand corner. More pressure followed and yet another goal line clearance prevented the visitors from further extending their lead. Following a corner, Mark Ayres remained up front and he was able to pressure the LR defender as he tried to clear. Winning the ball on the by-line, he squared it across the face of goal but nobody was able to finish. The win was secured on 66 minutes when Jordan Cover ran on to a through ball and placed the ball into the bottom left hand corner. Cover’s goal added to his already fantastic tally that he has amassed this pre-season with the striker scoring 12 goals in 285 minutes which equates to a goal every 24 minutes. Collieries had numerous opportunities to add more goals to the score line, but that didn’t matter as they progressed into the next round of the Bolton Hospital Cup having had a good run out. The league campaign begins on Saturday when we travel to West Didsbury & Chorlton for our eagerly awaited return to the NWCFL Premier Division. Kick off is at 15:00 at Brookburn Road. Match report by Joseph Gibbons

A special mention to Brad Cooke who won his second flatcap in the Flatcap Derby. The hall of fame now looks as follows: Brad Cooke (Colls) Karl Atherton (Colls) Matt Boland (Rovers) Chris Lawton (Colls) Jake Kenny (Colls) Mark Battersby (Colls) Brad Cooke (Colls)


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