Report: Nelson 3-4 Atherton Collieries

Buoyed by the clinical second half display at Premier Division title favourites Runcorn Linnets Michael Clegg's boys visited Nelson for the latest installment of Friday night football. Gareth Peet missed out due to injury on the aforementioned game and James Kirby forced his his way into the starting line up following his hat trick heroics. Nelson started the game in possession and when the ball went into touch a 'that's not good shout' emitted from their dug out which showed that gaffer Mark Fell expected a quality performance from his charges. He was happier on 4 minutes. Nathan Batersby in the Colls left back slot misplaced a pass and moments later the ball had been crossed to Mark Jackson who finished with ease from about 10 yards. Jackson was in dreamland 3 minutes later when he doubled the advantage from almost an identical position. Colls were totally rattled and only a fine Danny Taberner save prevented a Jackson inside of 10 minutes hat-trick. This save basically kept Colls in the tie and the performance could only improve. Mark Truffas and Mark Battersby had a couple of free kicks around the edge of the box but the executions were lacking. In the 27th minute James Kirby won a good header from a setpice but the ball landed on the top of the crossbar and crazily back to him but his second header when straight into the grateful hands of Nelson custodian Ben Woodhead. Seconds later Woodhead earned his corn with a fine close range save from Kirby following a neat 1-2 with Mark Battersby. Colls were definitely gaining a foothold in the game and despite being 2 down at the interval hope sprang eternal for the excellent travelling support. Colls pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute. Truffas floated an inviting ball in the box and Kirby expertly back headed the ball past the oncoming Woodhead and into the empty net. Two minutes later though Colls shot themselves in the foot. A freekick was conceded clumsily and midfielder with a famous name Warren Beattie was accorded the freedom of the Colls penalty area to head home with ease. Lesser teams may have crumbled with the latest hammerblow but not this Atherton Collieries outfit. James Kirby had ran himself ragged and he was replaced by Jordan Cover who after a prolific preseason hitting the back of the onion bag had been quiet of late. He had told Manager Clegg he was up for this game and boy was he was true to his word. His pace was immediately a concern to the hosts rearguard and on 63 minutes he reduced the arrears with a rasping shot from maybe 30 yards which had Woodhead flailing at thin air. Woodhead lay prostrate on the ground for what seemed like an eternity in disappointment but also acknowledging the quality of the strike. Parity was soon restored. Truffas let rip with a ferocious effort from the edge of the box which was handled in the box. Mark Battersby coolly put the penalty into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Nelson were still at the races and had a period of domination but couldn't conjure up the chance to worry Taberner. With 5 minutes remaining Colls scored the vital winning goal. Mark Battersby deflected a ball out of the defence in the path of Cover who outstripped a tiring defence before slotting the ball to the right of Woodhead and into the corner of the net. A nerveless finish and Cover looked 'a happy boy' as he milked the adoration of teammates and supporters. Another 4 goal second half salvo gave the black n whites stripes another tremendous away scalp. It was one in the eye for the Admirals who are a quality team. I hazard a guess that they must have most players who have played higher than Step 5 in their squad and they certainly have Evostik ambitions. The game was played at a high tempo throughout and yet again another fine advertisement for the NWCFL product. I am stating the obvious but Colls need to stop the rot of conceding early goals. Even though the team never knows when it is beaten you cannot keep giving good sides starts. To sum up it was a fine Friday night in East Lancashire and not even the gridlock on the motorway going home could take the shine off the occasion.   Match report by Emil Anderson

Squad Update: 06/06/2024

Atherton Collieries would like to wish the best of luck to midfielders Nathan Caine and Ben Rydel, who have today departed the Skuna Stadium to

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