There was real boxing day classic at the Skuna Stadium as goals from Enock Lusiama, Josh Solomon-Davies and a brace for Jordan Scanlon powered the Stripes to a 4-3 victory against Workington AFC.
The start couldn’t have gone any better for the Colls as early pressure forced the ball to go for a corner, and Ben Rydel’s expert delivery found the leaping Lusiama to head home an early lead with less than two minutes on the clock.
The Black & Whites lined up with a new shape and it paid dividends when Ben Rydel managed to free Enock Lusiama in behind the Workington backline, and after some excellent holdup play the ball came to Jordan Scanlon who found the marauding Josh Solomon-Davies. The Saint Lucian’s low shot beat the keeper to double the lead with less than a quarter of an hour played.
The third for Colls would come via Ben Rydel again, who managed to get ball across to the on-rushing Jordan Scanlon. The young forward had two bites at the cherry as his first effort was well kept out by Jim Atkinson in the Reds goal, but the rebound fell favourably and Scanlon wouldn’t be denied at the second time of asking.
A fourth goal should have come courtesy of Lewis Mansell soon after, as Enock Lusiama showcased his skill on the left flank before crossing to the imposing forward, but the effort was fired narrowly wide.
After that blistering 35 minutes, Workington had abandoned all defensive stations and pulled one back with their first real attempt. A scuffed clearance was pounced upon by the Reds as Scott Allison managed to fire home.
Workington then made it two in three minutes. Right-back Greg McCaragher was found on the edge of the area and hit a thunderous strike across his body into the far-left corner, leaving Joe O’Shaughnessy rooted in the goal and giving the Reds a renewed belief heading into the half time interval.
The second half immediately started with Colls on the back foot as a succession of Workington chances were repelled by the Colls defence and especially Jordan Boon, who played on throughout the game despite still struggling with his injury obtained in the weekend’s trip to Warrington.
But when the ball did manage to get pass the steadfast defence for the Colls, Joe O’Shaughnessy was in inspired from as he got down well to deal with an improvised effort from Steven Rigg who was leading the Reds line.
A chance for Colls came just before the hour as Dylan Thompson played a perfectly weighted ball for Lusiama, who managed to find captain Lewis Mansell but the Skuna pitch provided another reprieve for Workington, as an untimely bobble took the ball away from the forward.
The game was comparable to a basketball game in the second half as both teams had chances galore but excellent goalkeeping from both Joe O’Shaughnessy and Jim Atkinson kept the game firmly on a knife edge as we entered the last quarter of an hour.
A moment of brilliance would be needed to score past Atkinson in the second half and Jordan Scanlon produced such after he collected the ball just outside the area, jinked past three Workington players and calmly slotted the ball into the right-hand side of the goal to restore our two-goal lead.
But, it wouldn’t be Atherton Collieries if the game petered out to a calm finish. For one last scare, the Reds worked the ball out to the left wing and a cross managed to find a diving header from the flying David Symington to make the ending nervy, but the resilient Colls made it four points from two games.
David Chadwick’s Black & Whites next head to Lancaster City on New Years Day, and the annual curtain raiser at the Giant Axe has always provided fireworks.