Report: Bootle 0-2 Atherton Collieries

Just like last year, Collieries were handed NWCFL Premier Division opposition in the opening round of the FA Cup. Having knocked St Helens out of cup at this stage last campaign, Colls travelled to Merseyside once again to take on a Bootle side who enjoyed a seventh placed finished last season. Having enjoyed a pre-match breakfast of omelettes, with the exception of Mark Battersby and Mark Ayres as they don't like eggs, Colls arrived at Vesty Road in high spirits. The last time they travelled to this venue was the end of last season when they were unfortunate to lose to AFC Darwen in the First Division Trophy.  Bootle started brightly and went close to opening the scoring on two occasions. The first chance saw Josh Hamilton release Michael Ordish who crossed for Tom Peterson but the Bucks forward fired wide from inside the six-yard box. From the resulting goal kick Colls had their best chance of breaking the deadlock. Danny Taberner's long ball forward caused hesitation in the Bootle defence. Striker Jordan Cover capitalised on this and burst through on goal before unleashing a stern shot at goal. The effort was saved by Dave Moran, before Ben Hardcastle's effort was blocked by Shaun McCartney moments later.  Josh Hamilton and Tom Peterson both saw shots saved by Taberner in the Colls goal, as the Bucks began to pile on the pressure. It was becoming an end-to-end affair and Collieries began to settle cheered on by a vocal travelling crowd in possession of an air horn. On 23 minutes Atherton took the lead. Jordan Cover picked the ball up on the left hand wing and half volleyed the ball against the far post having lobbed the advancing Moran. You sensed a goal was coming and from the resulting period of play the deadlock was broken. Ben Hardcastle crossed the ball in from the right and Kris Holt was on hand to smash the ball into the roof of the net at the back post. Bootle reacted well to going a goal down and went close to equalising when Michael Ordish released Tom Peterson who struck a perfect half-volley which was pushed away by Danny Taberner. The goalkeeper was dealing with everything thrown at him and he was certainly putting in a Man of the Match performance. The second half saw Bootle drop their relentless nature in attack as they resorted to playing longer balls. The Collieries centre half pairing of Matt Grimshaw and Mark Ayres more than coped with the potential threat that Bootle possessed, and snuffed out the vast majority of attacks before they could materialise. The closest the Bucks came to finding an equaliser in the second half, was when Hamilton pounced on a loose ball inside the Colls box - but the midfielder could only fire over. With 13 minutes remaining Colls wrapped the game up, and in the process sealed their place in the next round. Ben Hardcastle collected Mark Ayres pass before dancing his way through the Bootle defences and poking the ball underneath the on-rushing Moran, to seal victory for the visitors. It was reminiscent of his goal on the opening day of last season when he scored at Cammell Laird. It wasn't a brilliant performance, but with Mark Battersby, Brad Cooke and Josh Messer all missing through suspension it was another win to be proud of. Collieries will travel to Evo-Stik Division One North side Brighouse Town in the next round. Atherton Collieries team: Danny Taberner, Keith Wedge, Jake Kenny, Nathan Battersby, Matt Grimshaw, Mark Ayres, Gareth Peet, Kristian Holt, Jordan Cover, Ben Hardcastle, Mark Truffas - Substitutes: James Kirby, Matt Boland, Andy Heald, Ahmed Sullay Attendance: 195 Man of the Match: Danny Taberner   Match report by Joseph Gibbons

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