Atherton Collieries recorded a dramatic 2-1 win over FC United in a tightly-fought battle at the Skuna Stadium.
In a physical game played in soaking wet conditions, both sides ensured the referee was kept busy with half a dozen yellow cards dished out as the two sides battled it out for the win. Colls took the game to United from the off, Marcus Cusani a constant threat running in behind the defence with Aaron Smith seeing the first shot of the game deflected into Dan Lavercombe’s gloves.
Despite the home sides’ pressure, it was United who took the lead in the first half, Cian Hayes gliding past a couple of challenges before laying it to Brad Holmes who had a simple finish from six yards - the visitors' first strike on target. Joel Amado and Luca Defreitas-Hansen both saw chances from set pieces in the first half, the latter’s headed effort forcing a superb save from Dan Lavercombe in the United goal.
Brad Cooke brought on Scott Sephton and Matty Gillam after the break as his side pushed to get back in the game - the former's searching ball was plucked down brilliantly by Ethan Kershaw in the box, the midfielder's silky touch seeing him in on goal and he made no mistake, dispatching the ball past the keeper with a low, driven effort. It was no less than Colls deserved, the home side being in the ascendency for much of the game.
With the rain hammering down and both sides searching for a late winner, there was nervy scenes as Cian Hayes saw an effort denied by an alert Luke Hutchinson. It was black and whites who snatched the win in stoppage time however, Marcus Cusani facing up his man and squaring to Luca Defreitas-Hansen, the wandering centre-back bundling the ball over the line to send the Colls fans into raptures.
Atherton Collieries: Luke Hutchinson, Niall Battersby, Gaz Peet, Joel Amado, Danny Lafferty, Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Ethan Kershaw, Danny Lambert, Marcus Cusani, Jack Lenehan (Matty Gillam 55') & Aaron Smith (Scott Sephton 55')Unused subs: Elliot Rokka, Rowan Roache Bolton Arena Man of the Match: Marcus Cusani (Sponsored by District Garage) Report: Danny Brown Photo: Dave Featherstone