Report: Colls 2-2 Altrincham

Ben Hardcastle’s second half equaliser saw Colls earn a draw at the Skuna Stadium against higher-division opposition in the shape of Vanarama North side Altrincham.

The visitors started brightly, John Johnston cracking the crossbar from the edge of the box in just the third minute, but it was Colls who went in front on 8 minutes, Tom Bentham despatching a penalty in to the bottom right hand corner of the net having been hauled down in the area by Toby Mullarkey.

Jack Egan had a golden opportunity to double Colls’ advantage only two minutes later but snatched at his chance and fired over the crossbar after latching on to a mishit pass from visiting goalkeeper Tommy Taylor.

Altrincham, fifth-place finishers and play-off semi finalists in last season’s Vanarama National League North, grew in to the game as the half wore on, Shaun Densmore forcing a terrific save from Colls goalkeeper Greg Hartley, tipping the ball over the bar at full stretch, before levelling the scores on 34 minutes, Tom Peers bundling the ball over the line at the back post after Colls struggled to clear an Altrincham corner.

A superb dipping free kick from Max Harrop put Altrincham in front on 69 minutes but it took only four minutes for Micheal Clegg’s black and whites to equalise, Ben Hardcastle latching on to ball a through and effortlessly breezing past Taylor before rolling the ball  in to the empty net.

Tom Bentham came close to a stoppage time winner for Colls but his effort drifted narrowly past the left hand post after being teed up by substitute Marcus Perry, leaving the two sides to be happy with a draw from an entertaining and keenly fought encounter.

The pre-season campaign continues on Saturday with the annual 'Jolly Boys' outing heading for Hemsworth Miners Welfare in deepest West Yorkshire (2pm kick off) before 8-time Saudi Arabian champions Al-Ittihad visit Atherton for an International Club Friendly the following Wednesday (24th July, 7pm). Atherton Collieries: Greg Hartley, Clive Smith, Gareth Peet, Oliver Roberts, Daniel Lafferty, Ian Rowlands, Jack Egan, Vinny Bailey, Tom Bentham, Ben Hardcastle, Ben Conway. Substitutes (all used): Dave Sherlock, Kieran Nolan, Matt Grimshaw, Marcus Perry, Toyeeb Mustapha Goals: Tom Bentham (8’ penalty), Ben Hardcastle (73’) Attendance: 267 Report: Matt Lawton

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