Report: Laburnum Rovers 0-2 Colls

Atherton Collieries progressed to the second round of the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy, defeating local rivals Atherton Laburnum Rovers in the 'Flat Cap Derby'.

Second half goals from captain Danny Lafferty and Jay Fitzmartin secured the victory for Colls, after Laburnum were reduced to ten men in the first half.

The first competitive meeting between the sides in seven years - a period that has seen contrasting fortunes for each club - saw Colls make the short journey to Crilly Park knowing that bragging rights were on the line.

Form books often get tossed out the window in local derbies and that proved true on this occasion - a tightly-contested first half betraying the gulf in league positions between the two sides.

Colls were presented a golden opportunity to take the lead with less than a minute on the clock, Joel Amado heading over at the back post after being presented with a free header in the box.

Both sides favoured a direct approach in the first half, with a mix-up at the back presenting the Dawson with a near open-goal, only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from Joel Amado.

It didn't take long for derby day tensions to bubble over, Ethan Kershaw hacked down in the centre of the park by Bennett with the referee flashing a red card to the Laburnum man.

Colls began to press their advantage in the second half, former-Laburnum man Luke Nicholls forcing a save from the keeper after Scott Bakkor played him in and Aaron Smith testing his range from distance, also denied.

It was cometh the hour, cometh the man, as captain Danny Lafferty provided the breakthrough for Colls on the hour-mark, smashing home from close range after the ball fell to him in the six-yard box.

There was confusion as the linesman's flag went up for offside on the near side, however after lengthy conversation with the referee the goal was given, with the Laburnum man judged to have the played the ball.

With the home side's resistance finally broken, it didn't take long for a second goal to come. Jay Fitzmartin, on from the bench, cut inside and left two defenders strewn in his wake before slotting home in the 67th.

In the late stages, Colls looked to increase their lead against a tiring home side, Scott Bakkor heading narrowly wide inside the box and Gaz Peet firing just wide after an impressive late jaunt down the left flank.

Despite being under the cosh for much of the second half, the home side did manage to fashion a chance in the dying seconds, baring down on goal only to be denied by another perfectly-timed tackle from Joel Amado.

With the final whistle, Colls celebrated securing a place in the next round and retaining bragging rights over their local rivals - who provided a tough game until the end, despite an early red card.

Long-standing tradition was continued at full time, with Joel Amado awarded the hallowed 'flat cap award' for his man of the match performance, presented by Colls legend Frank Anderson.

Colls are back in action this weekend on Saturday the 24th September as they travel to South Shields in the Northern Premier League.

Report: Danny Brown

Photo: Ben Roberts

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