Atherton Collieries picked up three incredibly valuable Northern Premier League points on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win at FC United of Manchester.
Goals from Joe Adams and Lewis Mansell were enough to secure a hard-fought victory for the visitors, marking a first since another 2-0 triumph over Bradford Park Avenue back in August.
Colls manager David Chadwick, returning to an FC United side with which he earned legendary status as a player, made three changes from Saturday’s disappointing 4-1 home defeat against Marske United.
Ben Rydel, Dylan Thompson and Sidi Fofana all came into the side, and the result was a far more competitive first-half compared to that at the weekend, with the two sides trading decent sights at goal.
The pick of the chances went to Mansell for the visitors, who couldn’t quite guide Adam Dawson’s inviting cross goal-bound, and Elliot Morris for FC United, with his powerful effort bravely stopped by ‘keeper Nico Defreitas-Hansen, who would receive treatment moments later.
The improved performance of Chadwick’s men would find its reward shortly after the break, with wide man Adams pouncing brilliantly on a scuffed clearance, before bending the ball beautifully into the top left corner of Pat Boyes’ goal.
Falling behind ignited a fresh purpose in the hosts’ play however, and there were more than a few nervy moments endured by the pocket of travelling Colls supporters.
The height of the tension came as Defreitas-Hansen produced a scarcely believable double save, sprawling across his goal to make the first stop, before springing up to guide the rebound safely behind for a corner.
Through a combination of the woodwork, heroic defending and wasteful FC United finishing though, the Colls’ rearguard would hold firm, if a little damaged, with both Adams and full-back Lewis Coulton playing through injuries before ultimately being substituted.
And the away side would even go on to double their advantage on a late venture forward, with Mansell the man to add the goal which allowed those from Atherton to breathe that bit easier.
Speaking shortly after the win, Chadwick was full of praise for his side and their commitment, stating they ‘defended like warriors’ and that the three points were a ‘testament to every single one’ of his players.
Atherton Collieries will now enjoy a well-earned weekend off, before returning to action at home to Ilkeston Town on November 4.
Match Report: Ben Smith
Colls Supporters Club Man of the Match: Nico Defreitas-Hansen, sponsored by Sarah Hobson