Report: Radcliffe 0-2 Colls

Over recent campaigns Borough and Colls have been both regular and evenly matched foes in cup competitions but meetings in league games have been far less prevalent. Prior to this season the local rivals were last in the same division in 1981/82 when they competed at the second level of the Cheshire County League. At the backend of January the teams played out an entertaining contest at the Kensite  which ended 1-1 and another close one was forecast. Michael Clegg made just one change from last weekend's line up with Iain Howard replacing a crocked Vinny Bailey.  To say it was fresh at the Neuven Stadium as play commenced but the Baltic type conditions didn't stop the black n white stripes coming out of the blocks quickly.   Skipper Brad Cooke had already directed a long range sortie off target by the time Colls took a 5th minute lead. Marcus Cusani cutely played in Jordan Cover who made no mistake from ten yards out. A fine opening which instilled confidence in the players. On 20 minutes a Cusani shot drifted wide in the swirling wind before Greg Hartley was forced to earn his corn with a fine full length save from an accurate long distant effort. Cover hit the far post from close range before the Radcliffe custodian somehow kept Ben Hardcastle’s follow up effort out of the onion bag. In added time Cusani was forced to leave the field because of a knock and was replaced by Glenn Matthews. The peal of Referee Corlett’s whistle to end the half was just preceded by an Hardcastle powerblaster narrowly clearing the bar. The hosts recommended proceedings brightly and controlled possession for twenty minutes or so. The Colls defensive unit weren’t in the mood to tip up the equalising goal though and shielded Hartley with aplomb. Buoyed by this the attackers regained the initiative and with twenty minutes left on the clock the advantage was doubled. Cover twisted the Boro defence inside out before slotting the ball through the keepers legs. He ran to the black n white clad supporters to receive their adulation before being mobbed by equally elated teammates. For the final fifteen minutes the returning Dave Sherlock replaced Iain Howard who had been a calming influence in his first start for a month or so. Sherlock put in an excellent cameo showing. Youngster Lewis Doyle came on for Hardcastle for his debut late on. Colls thoroughly deserved their victory to make it double digits undefeated. The lads worked well as a unit with Cover grabbing the headlines with his 17th and 18th notches of another fruitful campaign. Congratulations to Jake Kenny who made his 150th competitive appearance. Both teams and the match officials deserve praise for the way they made light of the truly testing conditions. The white stuff didn’t fall as abundantly nor spectacularly as it did at some of the other games up and down the country but it was snow joke out there seriously. The crowd of 176 deserve a big shout out also. The games continue thick and fast. On Tuesday it’s a case of third time lucky hopefully with a trip to Ramsbottom United in the league. Then on Thursday and Saturday Scarborough Athletic visit Atherton in the Integro Challenge Cup and the league respectively. Let’s hope the relatively positive weather forecasts are bob on. Atherton Collieries: Greg Hartley. Jake Kenny, Danny Lambert, Josh Messer, Matty Grimshaw, Danny Lafferty, Ben Hardcastle (Lewis Doyle 82’), Brad Cooke (C), Jordan Cover, Iain Howard (Dave Sherlock 75’) & Marcus Cusani {Glenn Matthews 45’) Subs Not Used: Adam Farrell & Liam O’Neil Goals: Jordan Cover (5', 70') Man of the Match: Jordan Cover   Attendance: 176

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