Report: Colne 0-2 Colls

Radcliffe Borough, Ashton Athletic, AFC Liverpool, Abbey Hey and Ramsbottom United – all teams from leagues above that Atherton Collieries have managed to beat in competitive games of football this season, a fine statistic for any side whether they be professional, semi-professional or amateur. The black and whites were presented with the opportunity to add to that list as the Colls entered Colne Football Club (of the NWCFL Premier Division) into the Sat Nav on Saturday. This game was registered as the Quarter Final of the Men United Cup; the Colls had beaten Abbey Hey in the last round way back in November. That third round tie followed two straight defeats for the Colls at the hands of Seahem Red Star (in the FA Vase) and Northwich Flixton Villa (in the league). 4-2 to the Collieries advantage was the final score, thanks to two goals from Mark Adams, Mark Ayres and Mark Battersby. Colne v Atherton Collieries was eagerly awaited by everyone in the Collieries camp as they looked forward to making the journey across to Lancashire. The game started brightly, both teams shared possession, Colne had the first effort of the game on five minutes. The ‘Red Army’ defended superbly from a Colls attack and presented themselves with a counter-attack with a good number of the Colls XI at the other end of the pitch. Colne’s Joseph Garvin found himself with space and time in midfield, Garvin noticed goalkeeper Danny Taberner off his line, and Garvin fired his ambitious shot at goal. However, the ball flew just wide of the post. Collieries debutant Ian Howard nearly assisted in the opening goal two minutes later. Howard, on his left wing, whipped a dangerous ball into the Colne box. Fellow winger Ben Hardcastle got his head to the cross, only for his header to land into Colne keeper Christopher Thompson’s palms. A battle in midfield followed until the 22nd minute of the game. Hardcastle received the ball and twisted and turned his way into the Colne area from the right hand wing. Hardcastle passed the ball onto Matty Boland in the centre of the area; Boland’s shot however was well saved by Thompson. Drama followed four minutes later as there was much debate as to whether the ball crossed the line or not. A Collieries’ free kick was drilled into the packed Colne area. Striker M. Batterbsy got his head to the ball and directed it towards the goal. The ball tapped the underside of the bar and bounced down on the line, scrambled away seconds later by the Colne defence before any clear goal could have been given. For a period of the first half, Colne were quiet up front, but on 39 minutes forward Daniel Boyle wiggled his way into the Colls box. However, Boyle’s shot was directed straight at Danny Taberner. Second half the atmosphere heated up a little with chants sung from both sets of supporters at the top of their voices. However, on the pitch a close and equal game was played out. On 13 minutes the Collieries had yet another chance to take the lead. Josh Messer caused the Colne back four problems when he curled a cross into the Colne box. Howard, under pressure, could only dink his header straight into the Thompson’s arms however. Four minutes later, the Colls finally found themselves ahead. A corner from the left side was whipped in by Boland. A packed out Colne box failed to distract defender Mark Ayres who tapped the ball into the back of the net to send players, management and fans wild. The clocked signalled 70 minutes when the Collieries doubled their advantage. Ayres sent a very dangerous ball into the Colne area, with plenty of room. Howard, who had made his run into the box previous, tapped the ball at goal only for Colne defender Jonathan Hodgkinson to deflect the ball into the back of his own net. Colne were handed a way back into the game two minutes later. Jake Kenny brought down Colne’s Chris Anderson in the area; however, the following spot-kick from Boyley was superbly saved by Goalkeeper Taberner. Colls worked hard for the rest of the game to ensure the black and whites returned to Atherton with their name still in the hat for the semi-final draw. Credit to Colne who played some good football and do indeed find themselves in a very respectable and high position in the NWCFL Premier Division, deservedly so, best of luck for the rest of the season! A fantastic game of football was witnessed by the 174 people who contributed to a fantastic atmosphere down at the XLCR Stadium. As always, thank you for your fantastic support on Saturday, it is much appreciated by everyone at the Football Club. The draw for the Semi-Finals on the Men United Cup will be made on Wednesday. Atherton Collieries: Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Nathan Battersby, Josh Messer, Gareth Carson, Mark Ayres, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke (C), Mark Battersby, Matthew Boland, Ian Howard - Substitutes: Jordan Cover, Mark Truffas, Kristian Holt, Rob Swanton, Tom Shaw Colne: Christopher Thompson, Alexander Coleman, Christopher Bailey, Marc Young, Jonathan Hodgkinson, Simon Nangle, Christopher Anderson, Spencer Jordan, Daniel Boyle, Kieran Demaine - Substitutes: Brandon Barski, Thomas Berwick, Edward Williams, Adam Stockdale, Andrew Tinker  Attendance: 174

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