Atherton Collieries recorded their first draw in a remarkable twelve matches, following an uneventful home clash with playoff pushing Gainsborough Trinity. Uneventful until the last ten minutes, I hasten to add. A thirteenth league draw in total. The match was slow to get started with little to report throughout the first half. A major opportunity fell for the Stripes halfway through the opening 45, Luca Defreitas-Hansen drawing a clutch goalline block following a corner, flicked on by Adam Rooney.
Additional chances came through further first half set pieces, Danny Lafferty in particular repeatedly unlucky with multiple headed efforts.
The second half was initially a continuation of the cagey first, with no major chances to report throughout the initial midfield sabre-rattling.
The game finally sparked into life with the introduction of Stripes top-scorer Jay Fitzmartin, who produced a powerful effort following a sharp piece of skill immediately following his introduction.
The deadlock was finally broken with ten minutes remaining. The ever popular Luca Defreitas-Hansen finally scored his first goal of the season, taking advantage of his regular set-piece threat to convert a Jack Lenehan delivery, though the visitors were aggrieved at an alleged foul on stopper Matt Yates in the build-up. Very scrappy, but nobody cared.
Gainsborough responded instantly through Bailey Conway, scoring his first for the club since arriving from Alfreton, converting a low pile-driver from distance.
Despite the hosts controlling possession and producing the better half chances, Gainsborough should have won the game just seconds later, hitting the bar through Hayden Cann from point-blank range, as the Holy Blues tasted blood in the final stanza. Such was the ferocity of the effort the woodwork rocked but managed to stay upright.
Both teams would have liked to have claimed maximum points to further their agendas at the different ends of the league ladder. A Non League Day draw was the fair result. The teams have produced two stalemates this campaign and have looked evenly matched.
No rest for Cooke’s boys as on Tuesday evening they host Liversedge in a Pitching In NPL Premier Division encounter, 7.45pm. Colls: Mackenzie Chapman, Adam Rooney, Joel Amado, Cesaire Lingouba (Jay Fitzmartin '63), Danny Lafferty (C), Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Ben Hardcastle, Oli Brown, Bailey Thompson (Clive Smith '89), Adam Haw (Jack Lenehan '73), Marcus Cusani - Sub (Unused): Gareth Peet Attendance: 362 Colls Mon of the Match Sponsored by The Colls Gals: Joel Amado, sponsored by Les Unsworth Report: Rob Clarke & Emil Anderson