Ben Starkie scored a showstopping stoppage-time winner as Atherton Collieries were beaten 3-2 by llkeston Town at the Skuna Stadium.
Dylan Thompson and Enoch Lusiama each registered their first goals in Colls colours, but ultimately found themselves on the losing side as Alex Marshall, Jamie Walker and substitute Starkie all netted for Ilkeston.
The visitors took the lead early on, with Marshall rising first to meet Larell King’s looping long throw, before guiding the ball over Nico Defreitas-Hansen for the game’s opening goal.
The Colls did begin to grow into the first half in the latter stages, however, and their best chance came as Lewis Mansell beat Matt Yeates in the air, only to see his effort cannon out of play via the goalpost.
Shortly after the break, the equalising goal would come, as centre-back Thompson headed home from a corner to notch his first Atherton Collieries goal in just his second start since his move from Nantwich Town. It was a first headed goal of the competitive season.
Another corner, and another first-time scorer, made it comeback complete for Colls, with debutant Lusiama eventually turning the ball home from close range after an almighty scramble in the six-yard box. He looks primed to be a terrace favourite.
But the pendulum was set to swing once more, as Walker first levelled things at 2-2 from 12 yards, before Starkie’s 92nd-minute strike went crashing in off the crossbar in a final, dramatic twist. The majority of Skuna was plunged into stunned silence while the pocket of Derbyshire visitors quite rightly celebrated the wonder strike passionately. David Chadwick’s men had moments earlier been denied a penalty of their own when Thompson went down much to the frustration of the natives.
A much improved home display in particularly testing conditions that the supporters appreciated wholeheartedly at full time. Should the lads have got something out of the game? Most definitely but they must now dust themselves down for a trip to Worksop Town next Saturday. Check social media outlets for travel details. #FollowCollsAway
The Colls: Nico Defreitas-Hansen, Josh Solomon-Davies, Josh Askew, Ben Rydel, Dylan Thompson, Jordan Boon, Joe Adams, Sidi Fofana, Lewis Mansell (Enoch Lusiama 56’), Harvey Gregson (Dylan Moonan 85’), Oli Patrick (Nathan Caine 67’) - Subs (Unused): Lewis Coulton, Jordan Fagbola
Colls Mon of the Match Sponsored by Atherton Accountancy Ltd: Josh Solomon-Davies (Sponsored by Neptune Wealth Management) - Solid in defence and enterprising in attack.
Match Report: Ben Smith & Emil Anderson
Photography: David Featherstone - Full Album