Atherton Collieries recorded a pre-season victory over Bolton Wanderers at the Skuna Stadium, thanks to a last-gasp strike from a trialist.
The traditional pre-season fixture was watched by a bumper crowd, and saw Colls record a deserved victory against Wanderers’ newly-formed ‘B team’.
Collieries should have been ahead inside the opening minutes, Aaron Smith heading narrowly over the bar following a good cross from a trialist on the right.
The attacker was presented with another chance moments later, stealing the ball from the Wanderers defence before being thwarted by ex-Colls keeper Luke Hutchinson.
A free-kick on the edge of the area saw Jack Lenehan fire narrowly wide of the post, before Conor Carty had the visitors’ first sight of goal, blazing over from a drop-ball.
Carty had the ball in the back of the net moments later after latching onto Gez Sithole’s pass, however the linesman’s offside flag on the near side came to Collieries’ rescue.
Colls’ trialist keeper, featured heavily throughout pre-season, had work to do before the break, diving to his left to turn a curling free-kick from Connor Stanley around the post.
The second half began with a close-call for Wanderers’, Elis Litherland’s sliced kick almost headed into his own net by Lamine Toure before being hacked off the line by Adam Senior.
Colls’ wasted another glorious chance with ten minutes to go, a pair of trialists combining in the six-yard box but the resulting effort poked agonisingly wide of the goal.
With the game heading for a draw, it was one of Colls’ trialists who stole the day, firing a 25-yard strike into the back of the net to seal the win for the black and whites.
With Colls having extended their unbeaten pre-season run - three wins and a draw, Brad Cooke’s side will next be in action when they face Widnes FC.
Photo: Dave Featherstone
Report: Danny Brown