A strong Droylsden side arrived at Alder House on Tuesday night and they took the spoils through a thunderous strike from Matty Burke. Football returned to Alder House for the first time since April and the pitch was in fine condition thanks to the efforts of Jasper and Badger. The two were rewarded for their hard work with presentations from the players after the match; a sign of how close the club is this season.
Michael Clegg had a full strength side at his disposal, with the exception of striker Phil Howard who is still recovering from an operation. Unfortunately, Jordan Cover who scored twice against Farnworth Town last week went off in the early stages after rolling his ankle.
Despite a two division gap between the two sides, and Droylsden expected to do well in the NPL Division One North this season it was a fairly even match with Colls matching the visitors throughout. Not much football was played in the match, with neither side settling.
Various attacks for both teams were dealt with by two strong back lines and it was only fitting that the first real attempt on goal would come from a set piece. Mark Truffas took a free kick from just outside the area and his effort curled against the left hand post, beating the goalkeeper.
Six minutes later, Droylsden came close to scoring after an error in defence from Gaz Carson. Sef Gonzalez broke through, but Josh Harris dived in well, claiming the ball, clattering into James Brooks in the process.
There were more problems at the back as the half progressed. A lack of communication saw Harris dart out to deal with an attack, whilst the defenders covered behind. The striker beat Harris before Chris Lawton put in a fantastic block to clear danger.
The only goal of the match arrived on 41 minutes when an attack came down the right hand side. The Droylsden winger cut in, before laying off to Matty Burke who hit the ball into the top right hand corner. There was nothing Harris could do but pick the ball out of the back of the net.
Colls changed their men at half time, and again, they dealt with Droylsden well.
Matty Boland came close to equalising for the home side, but his well worked shot hit the crossbar and went over the fence into the valley. This came to the despair of the make shift ball boy team who commenced their first battle of the season with the Japanese Knotweed.
The match petered out; the score finished 1-0 to Droylsden.
It was a good work out for both sides who are still working hard to sort things out before their campaigns begin. There will be a tougher test for Colls on Saturday when Evo-Stik Premier side Curzon Ashton make their first visit to Alder House since January 2006. Atherton Collieries first half team: Josh Harris, Nathan Battersby, James Brooks, Andy Heald, Gaz Carson, Chris Lawton, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Jordan Cover (Jack Kenny), Kris Holt, Mark Truffas
Atherton Collieries second half team: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Kieran Halliwell, Matthew Grimshaw, Robert Swanton, Craig Dickinson, Brad Cooke (Andy Heald), Jake Patton, Matty Boland, Tom Shaw, Jack Kenny (Ben Hardcastle)
Droylsden (from): Russ Saunders, Ali Brown, Danny Caldercott, Alex Frost, Peter Dogan, Dale Wright, Carlos Meakin, Matty Burke, Luke Sharry, Daz Green, Shaun Mylar, Danny McLaughlin, Adam Morning, Fernando Moke, Ben McNamara, Ben Hennighan, Kev Leadbetter, Ciaran Kilheeney, Ben Degan, Sef Gonzales