Atherton Collieries kicked off their Emirates FA Cup campaign against Bridlington Town at the Skuna Stadium, but fell short of expectations with a 1-1 draw. This was the first ever meeting between Colls and Bridlington Town. The visitors, who currently play their football in the Pitching In Northern Premier League East, recently achieved promotion from the Northern Counties East League.
Meanwhile, Colls came into the game buoyant following their impressive 3-1 victory against a physical Lancaster City side.
Due to the physicality of that game, Colls were forced to make numerous changes to the starting line-up due to injuries to some of the key members of the side. Luke Hutchinson, Clive Smith, Danny Lafferty and Niall Battersby all came out of the side for Danny Taberner, Luca Defreutas-Hansen, Scott Sephton and Elliot Rokka.
As the game got underway, it didn’t take long for Colls to break the deadlock; 37 seconds in fact. Scott Sephton producing a sublime strike from the edge of the box into the bottom corner.
The Colls onslaught continued. Just moments after taking the lead, a Jack Lenehan cross from the right picked out an unmarked Marcus Cusani is the box, but his effort goes straight down the middle and is kept out by Hitchcock in the Seasider’s goal.
For the majority of the first half, Colls continued to produce great chances to double the lead. As Brad Cooke said in his post-match interview, Colls had around “10 or 11 shots” in the first half alone.
As the referee sounded the whistle for half-time, the gulf in class between the two sides was apparent to see by all, based on what was shown in the first 45 minutes. However, the longer it stayed 1-0, the more Bridlington grew in confidence.
Early into the second half, the Seasiders produced their first attempt on target with a decent effort from Earl, but Taberner in the Colls goal was equal to it.
The chances continued the flow for the home side, and it felt that it was only a matter of time before one of their chances found the back of the net. Unfortunately, the longer the half went on, the more confident the visitors became. They started to see much more of the ball and get crossed into the box.
Midway through the second half, Colls’ lack of killer instinct in front of goal came back to bite them. A corner for the visitors from the right-hand side found Jack Bulless in the area who diverted his header past Taberner.
Bridlington continued to frustrate the home side. As Colls piled on the pressure to find the winning goal, the Seasiders defended resolutely and played on the counter-attack.
With just 6 minutes of play left remaining, it looked like Colls had finally found the goal that would put them through into the next round of the FA Cup. The ball falls to the feet of Rokka in the box and his shot looked destined for the bottom corner, but Hitchcock in the Bridlington goal produced an unbelievable save to push the effort round the post.
The latter stages of the game saw the visitors looking for the winning goal, getting the ball into the box at every opportunity.
As the referee blew for full-time, the frustration of the Colls players, staff and fans was there for all to see. The first-half display should have been enough to put the game to bet, but Bridlington grew more and more confident as the game wore on. This draw means that Colls’ next fixture sees them travel to Bridlington Town for the replay as Cooke’s men look to progress into the Second Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup. This will take place at the on Tuesday 7th September, kick-off 7:45pm. Be sure to follow our social media channels for ticket information.
Atherton Collieries Line-up: Danny Taberner, Jack Lenehan, Gaz Peet (C), Danny Lambert (Lewis Doyle, 66), Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Joel Amado, Ethan Kershaw (Ben Conway, 57), Scott Sephton, Matty Gillam (Dylan Glass, 70), Elliot Rokka, Marcus Cusani.Unused Subs: Danny Lafferty, Niall BattersbyBolton Arena Man of the Match: Scott Sephton Written by: John Holland