Report: Runcorn Town 0-3 Atherton Collieries

Colls notched up back to back MEN United Cup victories to reach the semi-finals for the second consecutive season and only the third time since the inception of the competition in the 1982/83 season. Town had the first chance in the 3rd minute when their marque player & ex Colls hero of course Paul Shanley crossed dangerously from the goal line only for a Colls defender to hoof the ball to safety under extreme pressure. Ten minutes later Shanley outmuscled Jake Kenny in the box but Danny Taberner was alert and he saved well with his feet.  Mark Truffas had the first concrete Colls effort when he was set up by Jordan Cover but his shot lacked bant and Town keeper Danny Lever saved easily.  Colls were now upping the ante forcing numerous corners and Mark Battersby dinked the ball narrowly wide after a quality Ben Hardcastle pass. On 28 minutes Colls took the lead.  Cover flicked the ball to Battersby who took the ball early and prodded past a helpless Lever. Battersby had the bit between his teeth and he ghosted past a couple of defenders only to see his shot smash against the post. In first half stoppage time there was a little bit of handbags near the dug outs which took a couple of minutes to sort out. The ref then played couple of feisty minutes when maybe it would have been more advisable to have blown for half time after the incident was sorted to diffuse the situation. Lever was having a good game and he made a couple of early second half saves to keep his team in the tie. Town missed at gilt edged chance to restore parity. Shanley neatly headed a flick on into the box only for James McShane to put the ball wide.  Mark Ayres then tried to dribble out of the box but was caught out and Taberner had to be on his mettle again.  Colls began to get a grip of proceedings and Lever bravely saved a Battersby effort at the near post from an excellent Gareth Peet cross.  A good move saw Dave Sherlock line up a 25 yard rasper but a bobble at an inopportune time saw the ball fly miles wide. With ten minutes remaining Town no 6 Daniel Toone got a straight red for a reckless challenge in the middle of the park and the one man advantage soon paid off.  A corner to the near post was cleared straight to Hardcastle fifteen yards out and he volleyed straight into the far corner of the net. Lever never moved. The goal of the season – end of!! The game was wrapped up in injury time.  Substitute Jamal Branker crossed perfectly for the on running Bradley Cooke to smash in from the penalty spot area. An excellent team performance against quality opposition. The defence were outstanding, the midfield won their battles and the forwards fired on all cylinders.  On a personal note the duel between Paul Shanley & Jake Kenny was the highlight of my afternoon.  Two footballers performing at their maximum. The draw for the semi’s was made minutes after the final whistle and Colls have been drawn at home to Barnton in a one off game on a date to be announced. Corner Count - Town 2   Colls 10 (My anorak tendencies came out) Report by Emil Anderson 

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