Atherton Collieries beat Welsh Premier side Rhyl 3-2 at home on Tuesday night, with goals from Jack Kenny, Ben Hardcastle and Jake Patton. After two pleasing performances against higher league opposition in Droylsden and Curzon Ashton, Rhyl were the next challenge that awaited Michael Clegg's side. This turned out to be an equally impressive display as seen against Curzon on Saturday, with Colls scoring three times to overcome their Welsh opponents.
It was the home side who had the majority of the chances, with Andy Heald registering the first shot after just four minutes. Great work down the wing from Mark Truffas saw Heald receive the ball on the edge of the area, but his shot went just over the crossbar.
Jack Kenny opened the scoring on seven minutes when he converted a solo effort. He picked the ball up close to the halfway line, beat three challenges before skipping past the last defender; chipping the ball over the Rhyl goalkeeper. It was a fantastic goal and the Colls fans will be hoping this becomes a regular sight in the NWCFL this season.
Rhyl had their first shot five minutes later, but their effort hit the post from the edge of the box.
Striker Jack Kenny should have doubled Colls lead minutes later when Truffas again burst down the left hand side. The winger beat the Rhyl full back easily, before squaring across the face of goal to Kenny. With an open net, he couldn't quite place his legs and missed the ball completely.
39 minutes, and Ben Hardcastle got his name on the scoresheet. The ball was fired into the area, and Hardcastle somehow flicked the ball over the goalkeeper with the outside of his foot from the byline.
Just before half time, Aaron Bowen headed in from close range to reduce Rhyl's deficit. The cross came in from the left, and the former Cammell Laird and Warrington Town striker was presented with an easy opportunity to bring his team back into the match.
Half time gave Michael Clegg an opportunity to change his attacking options, with Jake Patton, Matty Boland and Tom Shaw replacing Mark Truffas, Ben Hardcastle and Jack Kenny.
Patton looked lively down the right hand side and looked to test the Rhyl goalkeeper on numerous occasions. It was on 57 minutes when he made a breakthrough. Picking the ball up 25 yards out, Patton took a touch and fired a low shot into the bottom right hand corner. The ball bounced just before it reached the six yard box, making it hard for the goalkeeper to deal with.
Six minutes later, and Rhyl scored their second of the evening. The ball made it's way down the right hand side, from where a chipped effort floated into the far post past Taberner.
The match became a bit feisty towards the end, with a couple of players lashing out and berating each other. The referee intervened and called for a player from both sides to be substituted to allow for a cooling down period; a gaelic football black card if you know your Irish sports.
Overall, another impressive performance from Colls. The players were fantastic and were rightly clapped off by an ever growing Colls fanbase at the end of the match; something which apparently hasn't been seen for years at Alder House. Atherton Collieries: Josh Harris (Danny Taberner), Jake Kenny, Matthew Grimshaw (Chris Lawton), Gaz Carson (Craig Ogden), James Brooks, Nathan Battersby, Andy Heald, Brad Cooke, Mark Truffas (Jake Patton), Ben Hardcastle (Matty Boland), Jack Kenny (Tom Shaw)