Report: Colls 2-1 Padiham

Two first half goals were enough for Atherton Collieries to return to top spot in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division, but it wasn’t without a fight as visitors Padiham put up a huge effort to almost steal a share of the spoils in front of a crowd of over 250 at the Kensite Stadium. It was Colls first home victory over the side from The Arbories since February 1987. Micheal Clegg’s Colls side seemed to be in control when holding a two goal lead at the break, but with Padiham having halved the deficit before the hour mark, the black and whites had to endure a nervy finish as the visitors laid siege to Adam Reid’s goal in the hope of snatching a point. Having survived an early scare when James Dean’s deflected shot struck Reid’s left hand post, Colls looked on course for a comfortable victory as they attacked the Alder Street End in the first half, going in front on 34 minutes when Gareth Peet curled in a terrific cross from the left flank for Mark Battersby to head back across goal and in to the corner of Michael Donlon’s goal. Battersby had earlier cracked the underside of the crossbar with a terrific curling effort from the edge of the penalty area, but it was Peet that was causing most of the problems for the visiting defence. Playing on the left hand side of midfield, Peet set up the first goal after previously flashing a strike narrowly across the face of goal and then winning a penalty on 37 minutes with his improbably low centre of gravity enough to keep hold of the ball and draw a foul from Mark Coyne, with Mark Ayres stepping up to send Donlon the wrong way to roll home the spot kick and double his side’s lead. Colls had to be wary of allowing Padiham an early boost in the second half, but they were powerless to stop the deficit being halved on 57 minutes when Aaron Taylor headed home a cross from the right hand side. Dave Sherlock replaced Vinny Bailey in the Colls midfield with a little over twenty minutes remaining but it was the visitors who remained in the ascendancy, only to find Reid in terrific form as he made a tremendous save from Dean, tipping the ball over the crossbar having previously got himself in to a mess with the ball at his feet and conceding possession in the penalty area. Padiham continued to press but the Colls defence performed heroics as they desperately threw themselves in front of the ball and might have even had a third goal on the break when Thomas Bradley was dispossessed by Liam Wood who teed up Battersby, only to uncharacteristically fire his shot well over the crossbar. Colls held on for the three points and will be looking to travel with confidence when visiting old foes Runcorn Linnets on Saturday (3pm). Atherton Collieries; Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, Jamie Forbes, Josh Messer, Mark Ayres, Matt Grimshaw, Ben Hardcastle, Vinny Bailey (Dave Sherlock 68), Mark Battersby, Liam Wood, Gareth Peet. Subs (not used); Danny Lafferty, Brad Cooke Attendance - 260 Match report by Matt Lawton

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