Report: Irlam 1-5 Colls

Collieries set a new NWCFL Division One record by making it ten wins out of ten at the start of a season. Colls went into the game with their two leading goalscorers Mark Battersby and Mark Truffas missing through work commitments. Wes Bancroft and Matt Boland were more than adequate replacements. Nathan Battersby and Robert Swanton also came into the line up from Friday’s 5-3 triumph over Daisy Hill. Colls took the lead in the 11th minute. A through ball from Nathan Battersby freed Matty Boland and he slotted the ball across the oncoming keeper and into the right hand corner of the net. Eight minutes later the lead was doubled. Wes Bancroft sprang the offside trap and committed the keeper before passing to Ben Hardcastle to tap in. Irlam were trying to play football but were limited to pot-shots from distance. Their best attempt into half was a delicate lob which had Danny Taberner backtracking to tip over the bar. Matty Grimshaw had a chance to increase the lead but his header from a flighted free kick went wide with the keeper in no mans land. Colls were good value for their interval lead. Colls started the second period as if the game was in the bag and the hosts capitalised on the lethargy. A goal was pulled back on 50 minutes. A Colls defender miraculously cleared a goal bound shot off the line. Unfortunately the ball went straight to Gareth Mooney who took his opportunity well. Irlam sensed they could get something out of the game and Colls were on the backfoot. The large Colls following was getting nervous especially when Boland firstly hit the post and then shot straight at the keeper in breakaway moves. Manager Clegg - not usually a ranter or raver - was moved to have his say on the sideline. Irlam could not score and Colls scored again in the 67th minute. Bancroft and Kristian Holt created havoc on the right flank. Holt curved a shot in which the keeper couldn’t hold. Boland was Johnny on the Spot to score. This got Colls playing again and chances were created at regular intervals. The Irlam keeper was forced to make some good saves.0 In the last ten minutes Colls brought on three league debutants – Gareth Roberts and George Sunter from the Under 18s and Jordan Cover who has been in rehabilitation following a pre season ankle injury. Cover who broke Colls hearts playing for LR in last season’s Boxing Day Flatcap Derby shot narrowly wide with his first touch. He made it 4-1 when took the ball round the keeper and then perhaps have shot instead of passing when free on goal. It was a pleasing cameo role. The final goal came in stoppage time. Bradley Cooke attempted a ‘Bergkamp’ flick (his words not mine) and the defender was adjudged to have handled the ball. A soft penalty maybe. Mark Ayres ran 50 yards to grab the ball but Matty Boland rebuffed him before sending the keeper the wrong way for his hat-trick. Another excellent team effort to make it the ‘Perfect 10’ in the league. Irlam were in the ascendancy for 15 minutes or so at the start of the second half but Cleggy’s boys rode the storm and deservedly took the spoils. Match report by Emil Anderson

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