Collieries carried on their record breaking start to a league campaign by seeing off local rivals Ashton Town. The league was only just into its third week and it was already time for a second helping of MNF at Alder House. The visitors were Ashton Town’s whose manager John Brownrigg - like ours - has aspirations of his side getting out of our now legendary competitive division.
The club’s twitter and facebook accounts were going ten to the dozen and with a match up of the top two in the table there was always going to be the hype.
Unfortunately the first period did not live up to the build. Michael Clegg had shuffled his pack following the impressive win at St Helens two days earlier and the team took time to settle. Town are quality opponents and they perhaps shaded the possession count. The half was devoid of any clear-cut opportunities until Colls struck in stoppage time. A corner was forced and Phil Howard centred from the clubhouse side of the ground. Mark Battersby pulled away from his marker at the front stick and expertly headed home from about 6 yards. Town custodian Joe Clements stood no chance.
The goal buoyed Colls and they were a much different proposition after the break. The advantage was doubled after 56 minutes. A Town defender was penalised for a foul on the edge of the box. Mark Truffas stepped up and bent the ball around the wall and into the right corner of the net.
Colls were now cock a hoop and the large partisan home crowd were treated to some excellent football. The match got a little spiky with both teams receiving cautions at regular intervals. The game clinching goal came with ten minutes remaining and what a goal it was. Howard took a fine reverse pass from Mark Battersby into his stride and with the Town defence flummoxed he had the freedom of the paddock to pick his spot and blast past Clements.
Colls had started slowly but by the end of the game were in complete control of the game. Town‘s best chance of the game came from a corner but a free header was nodded straight into the hands of a grateful Danny Taberner. The players left the field to a rousing reception.
A three goal victory looked unlikely going into first half injury time but the lads came through against a team who will be contenders when the trophies are handed out in May. The squad has been rotated to good effect in the last two games with twenty players being used. Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Robert Swanton, Nathan Battersby, Matthew Grimshaw, Mark Ayres, Jake Patton, Brad Cooke, Mark Battersby, Phil Howard, Mark Truffas - Substitutes: Kristian Holt, Tom Shaw, Craig Dickinson, Matthew Boland, Ben HardcastleGoal(s): Mark Battersby (45'), Mark Truffas (56'), Phil Howard (80') Attendance: 171
Match report: Emil Anderson