Atherton Collieries recorded a convincing 2-0 win over Widnes in their penultimate pre-season game. A brace from Jordan Scanlon sealed victory for Colls, the young midfielder stealing the show on a pleasant evening at the Skuna Stadium.
A late addition to the pre-season calendar, the game had a distinctly pre-season feeling in the first half, with Colls dominating possession but lacking the intensity needed to make the breakthrough. Nathan Caine found the keeper with a tame effort before Josh Askew saw a free-kick beaten away, with Ben Rydel providing a near-constant threat down the right-hand side.
The first true opening of the game fell to Widnes, a lofted through ball creating a one-on-one that forced Nico Hansen into a quickfire double save to prevent the visitors from taking the lead. Colls responded with a chance of their own on the stroke of half time, Mwiya Malumo beating the offside trap only to be thwarted by the Widnes stopper from close-range.
Following the break, Colls upped the speed and intensity of their attacking play, and were rewarded on the hour-mark when Harvey Gregson was scythed down in the box, Jordan Scanlon confidently slotting home the resulting spot-kick. Scanlon could have added to his tally in the minutes that followed, placing a shot wide clear-through on goal before rattling the post after a strong run from Trialist down the left.
The second goal would eventually come as the ever-industrious Sidi Sanogo won back possession high up up the pitch, allowing Scanlon to tee-up Malumo who's skewed effort found its way back to the feet of the midfielder. A composed touch and finish left both keeper and defenders wrongfooted as Scanlon doubled Colls advantage with a flourish.
Both keepers were called into action late-on, Jack Buckley, on for Nico Hansen in the second half, made a sharp save down to his right to prevent the visitors a route back into the game, before Scanlon was denied his hat-trick after winning back possession and driving through the middle, eventually denied by the feet of the Widnes stopper.
Colls are in action again on Saturday, welcoming Witton Albion to the Skuna Stadium for our final pre-season fixture. 3pm kick off.
Photo: David Featherstone