Report: Colls 3-1 Holker Old Boys

Following Monday’s celebrations having won promotion at Atherton Laburnum Rovers the Collieries were in action once again. This time Michael Clegg’s side were up against a strong Holker Old Boys outfit at Alder House in a quick fire double header, with Collieries heading up to Barrow on Saturday. There were a few changes from Monday’s side with Luke Gibson making his debut at centre half with Matt Grimshaw dropping down to the bench. Another change at the back saw Keith Wedge replace the injured James Brooks. Brad Cooke made his return to the squad having completed his two match suspension, replacing Kristian Holt while Nathan Battersby replaced Matty Boland. The vast majority of the match belonged to Collieries but the final 20 minutes of the match saw the Old Boys mount on relentless pressure which could have earned them a point in their hunt for a much coveted play-off place. Collieries opened the scoring after just one minute. A deep cross was sent in from the right by Brad Cooke and Mark Battersby was on hand at the back post to bury a looping header past Oliver Bell. Holker looked to respond and on eight minutes Martin Grundy was denied by a fantastic save by Danny Taberner. The midfielder’s shot was heading for the bottom left hand corner by the Collieries goalkeeper pushed the ball behind for a corner. Taberner was called upon again on 16 minutes when Mike Rushton found himself behind the Colls defence, one-on-one. With little time to settle, Rushton hit his effort at goal but Taberner had spread himself well and the shot was bundled away. Three minutes later and Taberner pulled off the save of the match. The ball had trickled out to the edge of the area to John-Paul Stanway where the striker was allowed time and space. With his left foot he curled the ball towards the top right hand corner where Taberner – at full stretch – clawed the ball away. Collieries had to wait until the 25th minute for their next opportunity and it came from a corner kick. Gaz Peet swung the ball in from the left hand side and it was centre half Gaz Garson who rose the highest, heading the ball towards goal. If a bit more power would have been applied to the header it would have caused Oliver Bell more issues but the goalkeeper managed to punch the ball away. The home team were now regaining their early dominance and Mark Battersby came inches away from grabbing his second of the match on 27 minutes. Gaz Peet set off down the left hand side and beat right back Phil Coombe. A cross was sent in along the floor to Battersby who took a touch and hammered the ball marginally wide of the right hand post. Ten minutes before half time and Collieries had a deserved 2-0 lead. It was a direct move which saw Brad Cooke chip a hopeful ball over the Holker defence. Nathan Battersby used his strength to get the better side of Guy Heffernan and the midfielder dinked the ball past Oliver Bell from an extremely tight angle. Collieries were shooting down the slope in the second half and they played some fantastic football. Holker have to be given credit for their relentless defensive work, in particular Gareth Smith who in the whole coped well with attacking presence of Ben Hardcastle. The best move of the match arrived on 55 minutes when Mark Battersby received the ball on the right hand side. He beat two defenders and fed the ball into the middle to Hardcastle who in turn played a through ball to Nathan Battersby. Keen to record his second of the match he volleyed towards goal but it sailed over the bar. Holker pulled a goal back on 79 minutes when Danny Taberner brought a player down in the area. Mike Rushton stepped up and put his kick into the right hand corner sending Taberner the wrong way. This goal revitalised the spirit in the Holker camp and from that point they threw everything at their hosts. Collieries weathered the storm and substitute Jordan Cover sealed the three points three minutes into stoppage time. A ball was played over the top and the fresh legs of Cover saw him race away from the defenders before hitting the ball into the top right hand corner past Oliver Bell. It was a hard earned three points for Collieries and the return fixture on Saturday promises to be another decent game of football for the neutral. The black and white stripes now need eight points from their remaining seven matches to clinch the Division 1 title. Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Keith Wedge, Josh Messer (Kristian Holt), Gareth Carson, Luke Gibson (Andy Heald), Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Mark Battersby, Nathan Battersby, Gareth Peet – Substitutes: Andy Heald, Matt Grimshaw, Jordan Cover (Nathan Battersby), Kristian Holt, Mark Truffas Holker Old Boys: Oliver Bell, Danny Pattinson, Gareth Smith, Phil Coombe, Guy Heffernan, Stuart Pattinson, Liam Shields, Martin Grundy, Mike Rushton, Bradley Hubbold, John-Paul Stanway (Ben Wheeler) – Substitutes: Nigel Maxfield, Ben Wheeler Attendance: 130 Match report by Joseph Gibbons

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