Report: Penrith 0-3 Colls

The Collieries had earnt their place in the Third Round of the FA Vase. A fantastic 3-0 away at 1874 Northwich in the previous round saw the black and whites presented with yet another away trip in the next. This time it was a sojourn to Cumbria and a visit to Northern League Premier Division outfit Penrith. The Crazy Gang were out in force, two coaches and a number of cars made their way North to cheer on the Colls in what would be an historic FA Vase win against the day's hosts. Clegg was forced to field a weakened Atherton team. Mark Battersby, Brad Cooke, Jamie Forbes and Darryl Mason all found themselves unavailable for a variety of reasons. It was Jordan Cover who led the line in a 4-5-1 formation. To say it was a brisk day in the hills would be an understatement, both sides made a very nervy start to the game. An early penalty shout for Atherton was quickly waved away and the corner that came as a result easily dealt with. Penrith broke as a result but their efforts flew well over the bar. Both sides needed to settle. And settle the Collieries did as 14 minutes in Jordan Cover came close to grabbing the opening goal. Mark Truffas, with a superb curling ball, sent the forward through. However Cover, one-on-one with the Goalkeeper curled the ball just wide of the mark. Ben Hardcastle isn't known for his headers - more his creativity and ball work. On 24 minutes the tricky and at times unstoppable winger had a chance to make amends. Jake Kenny sent a superb cross into the Penrith danger zone. Coming in from the right side, the ball flirted through the air and almost teased Hardcastle as he made connection and directed the ball just over the bar. Penrith found themselves constantly frustrated by Atherton, they struggled to put a consistent passage of play together, this resulted in a scrappy half of football. As the half grew to its conclusion the black and whites had one last effort on goal. Josh Messer somehow made his way into the area, passing two defenders on his way. The midfielder, unable to get a shot away himself, fired the ball across the face of goal. Unfortunately no one in a Colls shirt could find a finishing touch. Second half and the Collieries came out with a sense of urgency, giving Penrith no time or space on the ball. Like the first half, Matt Grimshaw and Danny Lafferty defended superbly and allowed nothing past. There's only one word to describe the noise produced when opening goal of the game was bundled in, electric. On 58 minutes Matt Grimshaw poked the ball into the back of the net after it was scrambled towards him from across the bye-line. What a moment for both the solid centre back and the club as a whole. The Collieries following went wild. Ten minutes later and it was two. The combination of play between Truffas and Cover for this goal can only be described as frightening. The pair demonstrated a clear awareness of each other’s positions and strengths/weaknesses as the winger broke down the left wing and curled the ball across to Cover. Taking a touch, the unstoppable forward unleashed a superb shot that flew past Jonny Jamieson in the Penrith goal and rippled against the back of the net. Que yet more celebrations. Atherton weren't finished there! On 75 minutes Cover bagged his second to make it 3-0 to the black and whites. The Penrith back four simply couldn't handle Cover's pace, here he broke through from midfield and went one-on-one with the Penrith stopper. Jamieson could only watch Cover's thunderous shot hit the back of the net. A great goal to cap a great individual performance from Cover. That win sees Michael Clegg make history as manager of Atherton Collieries, never have the black and whites made it to the Fourth Round of the Vase before. And they did it in some style, a superb win saw the Colls boss the Frenchfields Stadium that day. A big thank you to all supporters, you sang your hearts out from start to finish, the management, players and committee appreciate every second of your support.

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