A much improved Atherton Collieries were their own undoing as they succumbed to a gut wrenching late 2-1 defeat at home to Bamber Bridge. It was a perfect start to the evening's proceedings when Nathan Caine scored his first goal for the club in just the third minute.
The Bamber Bridge defense, who struggled all evening to cope with the relentless Colls forward press, were forced into gifting Nathan Caine the ball with goalkeeper James Pradic in no man's land, and the youngster converted from range with ease.
The Stripes looked to build upon this early foothold throughout the first half, with Jack Evans most notably coming close with a powerful header from a corner.
Debutant Joe Adams also impressed, releasing Jordan Scanlon with a smart & quickly taken free-kick, which was sadly to no avail, whilst midfielders Harvey Gregson and Sidi Fofana were once again relentless in controlling play for the Colls.
The game truthfully should have been put beyond any doubt upon the hour mark. Jordan Scanlon was the recipient of two gilt-edged opportunities in quick succession, both of which coming whilst one-versus-one with stopper Pradic, but the young forward was unable to convert.
From this point, Bamber Bridge grafted and put in the hard yards of their own, and equalized with fifteen minutes of the game remaining. Lewis Coulton, who had been generally exceptional all night, misjudged a tackle on the edge of the penalty area, fouling Danny Edwards who had made a clear impact for the Brig since his introduction on the hour mark. Captain Macauley Wilson, who has always been a formidable opponent for the Collieries, converted.
As the game entered its dying embers, both teams went toe-to-toe in search of that winning goal, however it was Bamber Bridge who found it. A long ball found Harry Scarborough, who produced an excellent finish following some smart initial control to claim the three points. Colls: Nico Defreitas-Hansen, Josh Solomon-Davies (83' Mwiya Malumo), Lewis Coulton, Dylan Moonan, Jordan Fagbola, Jack Evans, Harvey Gregson, Sidi Fofana, Nathan Caine (71' Ethan Henderson), Jordan Scanlon, Joe Adams (74' Ben Rydel) - Subs (Unused): Josh Askew, Jack Buckley Man of the Match: Nathan Caine, sponsored by District Garage Bolton