Atherton Collieries came from a goal down to record a pre-season victory against Bury AFC at the Skuna Stadium. Second half goals from James Hooper and Marcus Cusani earned Colls the win, after a penalty from Harry Brazel put the visitors ahead at the break.
There were familiar faces on display for both sides, as Danny Lafferty and Joel Amado returned for the Colls against a Shakers’ team featuring a number of ex-Colls personnel, including Jake Kenny, Kris Holt and Oli Fannon.
The first chance of the evening fell the way of the visitors, Danny Taberner getting down well to deny an early effort from Bury’s O’Brian. Colls then came within inches of taking the lead themselves, a free kick headed on by Danny Lafferty poked goalwards by a Colls trialist, only for the Bury defence to hack it off the line.
Bury were gifted a golden opportunity moments later, as a Colls trialist tripped their onrushing striker in the box, the referee pointing straight to the spot. Harry Brazel stepped up for the Shakers and comfortably dispatched the penalty, slotting the ball home to Taberner’s right-hand side.
The interval saw both sides make a raft of changes with Colls’ introducing James Hooper, Marcus Cusani, Jack Lenehan, Ethan Kershaw, Gaz Peet and Luca Defrietas-Hansen to the action, whilst Bury opted to field an entirely changed eleven to their team that started the game.
Colls’ half-time changes had an immediate positive impact, with the team posing far more of an attacking threat following the break. James Hooper went close on the hour mark, his looping header bouncing narrowly wide, before his chipped delivery to the back post was centimetres away from being poked home by Ethan Kershaw.
Hooper would get his goal shortly after, pouncing on a mistake from the Bury defenders and chipping the ball calmly over Jack Atkinson to draw his side level. The striker soon made it a brace, some typical marauding work from Gaz Peet down the left saw him square it to Hooper in the box, who had a simple finish at the far post.
With Colls looking rampant in the final stages, Hooper blazed over from what turned out to be an offside position after the keeper spilled a powerful effort from Jack Lenehan. The third goal would eventually come courtesy of Marcus Cusani, the winger turning his man in the box and firing home at the back post to seal the victory for Colls.
Report: Danny Brown
Photo: Dave Featherstone