Report: Nelson 0-2 Colls

Everybody loves a trip down the M65 don't they? Well, fortunately for Colls they were heading up into the depths of Lancashire for another match and this time Nelson were the opponents. Clashes between the two sides have been entertaining and often heated events over the past few years. Last season two fantastic goals from Jordan Cover helped Atherton on their way to a late 4-3 win at Little Wembley and it was the same man who took the plaudits this time around. Both sides enjoyed strong starts to the season last weekend, progressing into the next round of The FA Cup. Nelson had beaten Northern League outfit Ashington 2-1 away from home in a result that caught quite a few eyes. Colls meanwhile had dispatched Bacup Borough 3-2. Coming into the match Atherton were able to name a recognised goalkeeper in net in the form of Adam Reid, which was a relief as midfielder Dave Sherlock - who was in net last weekend - was suspended alongside Vinny Bailey. Meanwhile, striker Mark Battersby was feeling unwell and was unable to travel. Add to this delays in signing on a couple of players due to international clearance and Colls named just three players on the bench. It was a fairly comfortable opening to the league campaign for the Collieries as the home side mustered up just one effort of note all match. Other than taking a couple of goal kicks and collecting a few crosses, Reid was a spectator for the majority of the afternoon. Having said that, Nelson did play well in the second half and managed to frustrate their opponents.  Atherton pressed forward from the very beginning and had a couple of half chances through their efforts. However, the away side had to wait until the 21st minute for their first clear chance and Jordan Cover duly opened the scoring. A loose pass in midfield from Nelson was capitalised on and the striker was able to run through on goal before lofting the ball over the goalkeeper into the right hand side of the net. Three minutes later and Collieries thought they had doubled their lead from a corner. Gareth Peet crossed the ball into the centre where it was subsequently prodded towards goal. A scramble ensued and Danny Lafferty stabbed the ball past the goalkeeper. Unfortunately, the linesman was correct in spotting the ball ricochete off an offside Cover before it had reached Lafferty. The match became a bit heated a few minutes before half time when a Nelson defender and Jordan Cover suffered a clash of heads. The Admiral came off far worse as he lay stricken on the floor with blood dripping from above his eyebrow. A complete accident as both players had eyes only for the ball. The army of Nelson fans took exception to the incident. It was rather fitting that just a minute later Cover was able to double his sides margin and lead the celebrations. Again, the striker was played through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, this time opting to take the ball around him and finish from a tight angle. A strong half from Colls and they started the second just as well. Mark Ayres fired marginally past the left hand post following a deep Gareth Peet cross just two minutes into the half. Ben Hardcastle had been playing well down the right hand side while Brad Cooke and Kris Holt had battled well in midfield. The latter was replaced by Mark Truffas who went on to inject a bit more energy into a Colls team who were beginning to look a little lethargic.  Nelson's first meaningful effort on goal came on 68 minutes when a header dropped wide of the left hand post. They continued to press forward in search of a goal but the back four of Colls looked very well organised and comfortable, winning pretty much everything that was thrown at them. With 15 minutes remaining, Collieries had a goal disallowed for the second time. Hardcastle curled in a cross from the right hand side and Cover met the ball with a glancing header. It bounced off the left upright and into the net but once again the linesman had got the decision spot on.  The match finished 2-0; Colls happy with a workmanlike performance. Next match is on Monday night when we host Squires Gate at home in the Hallmark Security Premier Division. Kick off is at 19:45. We then host Evo-Stik side Witton Albion in the next round of The FA Cup on Saturday. Nelson: Steven James, Jack Egan, James Wolfenden, Mohammed Nabeel, Thomas Bradley, Jack Brooks, Zak Dale, Oliver Devenney, Adam Nuttall, Bradley Coolson, Patrick O'Brien - Substitutes: Craig Richardson, Dominic Mahoney, Sameed Ellahi, Adam Monk, Lewis Craig Atherton Collieries: Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, Mike Lea, Josh Messer, Mark Ayres, Danny Lafferty, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Jordan Cover, Kris Holt (Truffas 69'), Gareth Peet - Substitutes: Chris Pauley, Matt Grimshaw, Mark Truffas   Attendance: 115 Match report by Joseph Gibbons

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