Atherton Collieries rounded off their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win against Chorley at the Skuna Stadium thanks to Jordan Darr’s 80th minute goal. Bradley Cooke’s men were dominant throughout and former Chorley forward Darr sealed a well-deserved victory as he slotted past the visitor’s ‘keeper having raced through on goal with just 10 minutes to go.
The Colls started the game brightly, enjoying the majority of possession, and saw Kyle Sambor’s shot from distance go just wide of the post at the 6th minute mark. This shot seemingly brought the Chorley side to life and they became more resolute defensively.
The Magpies’ were tenacious and managed to keep the home side out, but on the 36th minute, it appeared that their hard work had been undone as Cooke’s men had the ball in the back of the net. After a scramble in the box, the ball fell to a trialist who slotted the ball past Lewis Dutton in the Chorley goal but referee Darren Handley contentiously ruled the goal out for an offside decision.
Following on from the disallowed goal, the first half drew to a close with Colls yet to make their dominance count as the sides headed in at 0-0. Brad Cooke made two changes at the break as he brought on ‘keeper Danny Taberner and forward Marcus Cusani in place of Elliott Wynne and Kyle Sambor respectively.
Still looking to make their breakthrough, Colls were frustrated by Chorley and in particularly by ‘keeper Dutton, who must be given credit for a good performance. He made saves to deny the hosts on a number of occasions, first from substitute Marcus Cusani at close range and then from Vinny Bailey amongst others.
Cooke bolstered his attacking line further on the hour mark with the introduction of Elliott Rokka from the bench but still the visitors frustrated the Colls. That remained the case until ten minutes from time, as Jordan Darr was played through on goal and raced away from the chasing Chorley defender leaving him with only the ‘keeper to beat.
The 21-year-old kept his cool and put the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to seal a hard-fought victory for his side against his former employers. The goal unsettled the young Chorley side and Darr was only prevented from doubling the lead by the hands of ‘keeper Dutton once again.
Darren Handley blew the final whistle soon after this save and the game ended 1-0, a dominant display to round off the Colls’ pre-season. Atherton Collieries’ next fixture is this coming Saturday – 19th September – as we take on Scarborough Athletic in the season opener at the Skuna.
Match Report: Ben Olawumi