Three first half goals were enough for Micheal Clegg’s black and whites to see off North West Counties League Division One North visitors Prestwich Heys in Atherton Collieries’ latest pre-season outing at the Kensite Stadium. Having suffered a 5-3 defeat at highly-fancied North West Counties League Premier Division side Charnock Richard in midweek, Clegg put out a strong side ahead of Heys’ visit and, having initially seen Greg Hartley keep out the visitors with a flying save to tip the ball around the post after five minutes, Colls were a goal in front inside just ten minutes, Jordan Cover sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to convert a penalty after Gareth Peet had been brought down.
Cover grabbed his second of the afternoon on twenty three minutes, smashing the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper after being released on goal courtesy of a wonderful flighted ball from Vinny Bailey between the two Prestwich centre backs.
Bailey hit the air again on the half hour mark with a classic drifting cross but Ian Rowlands headed over when unmarked from six yards out.
The scoring was completed on thirty four minutes when Ben Conway showed some delightful footwork and then a deceiving drop of the shoulder to avoid two defenders on the right hand side of the penalty area and then roll the ball in to the opposite corner of the net to leave Colls three goals in front at the break.
The second half saw a glut of substitutions disrupt the flow of what was becoming quite a scrappy encounter, the first serious opening falling the way of substitute Adam Farrell who saw his drilled effort denied by the legs of the Prestwich goalkeeper, before the man between the sticks for Heys came up with a world class save just four minutes from the end, defying gravity to get down low to palm away a Gary Burnett header.
Colls are back in pre-season action this Tuesday (21st July) when they travel to West Lancashire League Premier Division outfit Euxton Villa for a 7pm kick off before visiting North West Counties League newcomers Wythenshawe Town the following Saturday (28th July, 1.30pm). Atherton Collieries: Greg Hartley, Jack Everest, Glenn Matthews, Danny Lambert, Danny Lafferty, Ian Rowlands, , Ben Conway, Vinny Bailey, Tom Bentham, Jordan Cover, Marcus Cusani. Substitutes (all used): Adam Farrell, Matt Grimshaw, Josh Peet, Gareth Peet, Luke Giverin, Gary Burnett, Josh Messer, Dave Sherlock
Goal(s): Jordan Cover (penalty 10’, 23’), Ben Conway (34’)