Atherton Collieries kicked off their pre-season campaign with a promising 2-1 victory against a Blackpool academy side at the Skuna Stadium. The game saw the debut of David Chadwick in the Colls dugout, alongside a host of new signings and trialists in what marks the start of an exciting new era in Atherton.
The first half saw Sidi Fofana, Jack Evans and Lewis Mansell make their first outings in black and white, with Colls unlucky to be behind at the break following a good start. An incisive passing move down the right gave Blackpool the lead, the ball put on a plate for the frontman who poked past returning keeper Nico Hansen from close range.
Despite that Colls threatened throughout the half, rattling the bar with a free kick from deep with the lively #11 trialist also denied one-on-one on two occasions. Colls keeper Nico Hansen was also called into action before the break, reacting well to turn a bouncing effort behind for a corner, with the resulting header skewed wide.
The second half saw a much-changed Colls XI, with new signings Josh Askew, Jordan Fagbola, Jordan Boon and Nathan Caine handed their first minutes. The breakthrough for Colls came courtesy of an own goal five minutes into the half, Jordan Boon’s dangerous ball from deep forcing the defender to turn the ball beyond his own keeper in the 50th minute.
Two trialists combined for the second goal not long after, the impressive #8 dinking the ball through to #10 who finished with a delightful chip over the keeper to give Colls the lead on the hour-mark. The hosts looked bright going forwards and could have extended their lead, a free kick taken by trialist #8 beaten away, with the resulting rebound thwarted.
The final whistle brought victory for Colls but the performance will have been the most pleasing aspect for David Chadwick and his staff as a new team begins to take shape at the Skuna Stadium. Some important minutes in the legs and a very promising performance to kick start Collieries' pre-season campaign.
Colls continue their pre-season preparations with a trip to Prestwich Heys next Saturday. Kick off 3pm.
Report: Danny Brown
Photo: Dave Featherstone