Report: Colls 3-0 Barnoldswick Town

Atherton Collieries recorded their first win over a side from Barnoldswick for the first time since 1923 on Monday night with a comprehensive 3-0 victory. While the scoreline does not flatter Colls, it was certainly a well earnt three points against a very good Barnoldswick side who have had a good start to the campaign. Collieries welcomed back Rhys Nevins, Mike Lea and Josh Messer into the starting lineup while Jamie Forbes maintained his place at right back despite limping off during the match at Hanley Town on Saturday. Mark Battersby and Jordan Cover started up front together and along with Nevins and Ben Hardcastle, they gave Barnoldswick a torrid time in front of another large crowd at the Kensite Stadium. The home side started quickly and they nearly opened the scoring after just four minutes. Cover, looking sharper than ever, burst through on goal and attempted to chip oncoming goalkeeper Stuart Cross. The loft was spot on but the aim was slightly off and it dropped just wide of the left hand post. Moments later and Atherton were once again unlucky not to break the deadlock when Rhys Nevins picked the ball up on the left hand side. He beat the defender by cutting inside and then sent in a precise cross to Mark Battersby who headed over the bar from close range. It had been a fantastic start for Collieries and they carried on pressing forward at every opportunity. On 17 minutes Ben Hardcastle will have been wondering how he missed after some more fantastic play down the left from Nevins. The winger squared the ball to Battersby who in turn chipped the ball over the face of goal to Hardcastle who headed over a practically empty net; he was stretching. The home fans were beginning to wonder whether it would be another night where Colls would be made to pay for wasting their chances. On the half hour mark, Cover managed to latch on to a loose ball just before the Barnoldswick goalkeeper. The striker flicked the ball around him towards the byline and then tried to steer an effort over the line into the back of the net. It was always going to be a tough ask scoring from such a tight angle and the ball eventually rolled across the face of goal and was dealt with by the recovering defenders. Less than a minute later and Cover was through on goal again but this time the goalkeeper managed to avert danger. Possession was instantly handed back to the home side though and defender Jamie Forbes tried his luck from distance with a rasping effort that was parried away by Cross. It was soon becoming a matter of when Atherton would score and not if. The deadlock was eventually broken on 39 minutes when a ball was fired into the area towards Jordan Cover. With his first touch he laid the ball off to Mark Battersby who raced forward and lobbed the goalkeeper. Stuart Cross got an outstretched hand to the effort but it proved fruitless as the ball carried on into the back of the net. A minute before the interval, Collieries were close to doubling their advantage when a Barnoldswick defender attempted to clear the ball following a low cross. He didn't quite connect properly and sliced the ball rather fortuitously into his goalkeepers hands who was stood primed less than a metre behind him.  Despite controlling the opening half, some stern words were said at half time and Colls looked even better attacking the changing room end in the second half. Barnoldswick had the first clear cut chance of the half when Aaron Hollindrake found himself in behind the defence. Racing down the left hand side he was one-on-one with Adam Reid but his eventual effort was scuffed wide of the left hand post. Straight from the resulting goal kick, Collieries were on the attack through Jordan Cover but he found himself closed down by Stuart Cross. A matter of seconds passed before the home side were back in possession of the ball and pressing forward searching for a second goal and it arrived through Ben Hardcastle. The winger picked the ball up on the edge of the box, cut inside the defender and fired the ball with pace into the bottom left hand corner for his sixth goal of the campaign. Arguably the best bit of play came from the visitors on 67 minutes when only a sublime save from Adam Reid prevented them from pulling a goal back. A swift attack down the left hand side from Barnoldswick saw them swing a cross into the attacker, who with his back to goal opted to control in the air and then acrobatically shoot with an overhead kick. The effort looked to be looping over Reid's head but he clawed the ball upwards and on to the bar for a corner kick, resulting in a round of applause from all in attendance. No sooner had the applause stopped, Colls were as unlucky not to score themselves. A quick break down the right hand side from Jordan Cover saw him burst past the defensive line and through one-on-one with Cross. Rather unselfishly he looked up and fed the ball into the path of the advancing Nevins who steadied himself and prepared to pass the ball into an empty net. Only a fantastic last ditch challenge from the Barnoldswick defender kept the scoreline at 2-0. The score became 3-0 on 71 minutes with one of the more bizarre efforts you're likely to see this season. Fantastic, patient build up play from Colls saw Mark Battersby gain possession on the edge of the box. He opted for a snap shot and it hit the backside of a defender and looped up into the air. Another defender missed his header and the goalkeeper remained flat footed, unsure whether to come for it or not. Vinny Bailey nipped in and kneed the ball towards goal where it bounced off the post and ran across the line. They all count. Jordan Cover had a couple more opportunities to extend the lead as Colls began to enjoy their football, in a way that hadn't really been seen since the cup final victory over Colne at the end of last season. Dave Sherlock and Brad Cooke were introduced with five minutes remaining and this helped strengthen a midfield which had put in a lot of effort throughout the encounter against the Silentnight Stadium side. The full time whistle went and Atherton Collieries went to the top of the NWCFL for only the second day in their history. The previous day came two games into the 2006/07 season when they had drawn one match and won the other. Barnoldswick remained in sixth place, just three points behind Colls. There's an awful long way to go... but we will enjoy our 24 hours at the top as we've had to wait a whole ten years! Atherton Collieries - Adam Reid, Jamie Forbes, Mike Lea, Josh Messer, Mark Ayres, Danny Lafferty, Ben Hardcastle, Vinny Bailey, Mark Battersby, Jordan Cover, Rhys Nevins - Substitutes: Matt Grimshaw, Justin Pickering, Brad Cooke, Dave Sherlock, James Brooks Barnoldswick Town - Stuart Cross, Liam Blades, Liam Britton, Shaun Airey, Arley Barnes, John Beckwith, Kieran Britton, Aaron Hollindrake, Joseph Gaughan, Harry Thompson - Substitutes: Mark Threlfall, Robert Grimes, Alex Ralph, Matthew Cavanagh, Jake McEneavey Attendance: 215 Match report by Joseph Gibbons  

Vacancy: Kit Man/Woman

Atherton Collieries are currently looking for someone to fill the position of First Team Kit Man or Woman ahead of the 2024/25 Northern Premier League

Read More