Report: Colls 2-2 Nelson

COLLS GO TOP DESPITE SURRENDERING LEAD Atherton Collieries 2 Nelson 2

After three consecutive clean sheets helped Atherton Collieries record three consecutive victories, the latter two of which saw Colls hit nine without reply, a draw in the home meeting with Nelson saw Micheal Clegg’s side return to the top of the Hallmark Security League Premier Division, but it was a result tinged with disappointment as the hosts were left with only a point despite holding a two goal lead with as few as twenty two minutes left in this encounter. In something of a quiet first half that saw neither side gain much of a foothold, Colls went in front on thirty eight minutes when a right flank Ben Hardcastle cross, inswinging towards goal via his left foot, perfectly picked out Mark Battersby to flick a header past Nelson goalkeeper Daniel Lever. Five minutes before the break Colls created a couple of chances to extend their lead but to no avail as first Brad Cook forced a smart save from Lever with a strike from the edge of the box, with Battersby flashing a shot narrowly wide of the target when the ball reached him at the back post from the resultant corner. Having held a one goal lead at the break, Colls wasted little time in doubling their advantage as Battersby grabbed his second of the evening just eight minutes in to the second half, sliding in at the back post to send the ball high in to Lever’s net after Darrhyl Mason’s left wing cross had been deflected in to his path. It appeared that Colls would be celebrating their return to top spot with a comfortable victory, but the game was turned on its head on sixty eight minutes when the visitors halved the deficit from the penalty spot. Nelson front man Yves Zama managed to get a touch to a somewhat hopeful long ball forward ahead of Colls goalkeeper Adam Reid and the pair collided rather innocuously. The referee waited to see if any advantage was to be gained from what he deemed to be a foul and, with Jake Kenny clearing the loose ball off the line, decided to award the spot kick which Charles Collinge duly dispatched straight down the middle of Reid’s goal. Clegg introduced Liam Wood and Justin Pickering from the substitutes’ bench but to little effect and, with their tails up, Nelson managed to grab an equaliser in painfully simple circumstances with eleven minutes remaining as Zama thumped a header in to the top corner when left with a free header from Reece Thompson’s right-sided corner kick. Cooke stung Lever’s hands with an eighty first minute effort, but with Colls struggling to regain their swagger of the first hour of the game, the visitors were happy to retain possession where possible and claim what, to their credit, had seemed to be a very unlikely point only a little over twenty minutes previously. Colls have a quick turnaround before being back in home action as Irlam visit the Kensite Stadium on Friday evening (14th October, 7.45pm kick off) followed by a trip to face West Didsbury & Chorlton the following Tuesday (18th October, 7.45pm). Atherton Collieries; Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, James Brooks, Vinny Bailey, Jamie Forbes, Danny Lafferty, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Mark Battersby, Darrhyl Mason (Liam Wood), Mark Truffas (Justin Pickering). Substitutes (not used); Matt Grimshaw, Josh Messer, Gareth Peet   Match report by Matt Lawton Photo by Ian Monk

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