The Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup threw up an away tie against NWCFL Prem Div side St Helens Town at Ashton Athletic’s ground – Brocstedes Park. There was a good following from both sides with a total attendance of 113 recorded, including some guests from BBC’s Non-League Show.
The Collieries started out the better of the two sides, hitting the bar and having two other good chances to take the lead inside the first five minutes. One of the most notable chances was on six minutes, Mark Truffas collected the ball on his left wing before passing the ball directly through the St Helens box, and Saints’ defenders did a good job in getting the ball clear.
A similar chance for the Collieries was recorded on the thirteenth minute, this time Ben Hardcastle collected the ball on his right wing, passing into the St Helens box only for it to be again cleared by the Saints defence.
Colls failed to turn their early chances into goals and St Helens capitalised on this by scoring two goals in the space of only three minutes. The first being scored on nineteen minutes by St Helens centre back Hamish Falconer. Falconer fired in after a Saints corner was floated into the Colls area. The second goal came on the twenty second minute, Saints’ captain Andrew Gillespie curled into the left hand corner of the goal from twenty five yards out giving St Helens a 2-0 lead against the Collieries.
Despite going 2-0 down the Collieries kept going, searching for that goal which would give them a footpath back into the game. That goal came from a Mark Truffas set piece on thrity seven minutes. Truffas fired his free kick low, in the bottom of the left hand corner, another fine set piece from Mark Truffas.
Two minutes later the game was nearly level. Atherton Collieries striker Kristian Holt received the ball just a few yards from the edge of the D, however his shot was fired well wide of the St Helens Town goal.
Half Time – St Helens Town 2-1 Atherton Collieries
The Collieries drew level on the fifty second minute; St Helens goalkeeper Christopher Brinksman saved the initial shot from Collieries striker Mark Battersby, Brinksman weakly parried the shot straight into the path of Hardcastle who tapped into the Saints’ goal. Eight minutes later the Collieries recorded another chance on goal, a sweet ball hit forward from the Collieries midfield was collected well by Battersby however his shot drifted wide of the goal.
On sixty four minutes the Collieries deservedly found themselves ahead, a penalty won by Ben Hardcastle was duly dispatched by Battersby – scoring his first of the game. The Collieries scored their fourth five minutes later. It was a goal out of nothing, Collieries’ James Brooks ran forward down the left wing from his left back position, picking the ball up on his way then finishing after shaking off the St Helens defenders.
Another Collieries goal was scored with just three minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Matty Boland whipped the ball in for fellow substitute Phil Howard to tap in.
Full Time – St Helens 2-5 Atherton Collieries
A superb fight back from Collieries after being 2-0 down inside the first twenty five minutes, the lads showed great spirit and passion to come back in the way that they did, a very proud moment for everybody involved with Atherton Collieries.
In the next round, we face Northern Premier League Division One North side Radcliffe Borough at their Stainton Park ground on Saturday 30th September. Details of that game and the next home game for the Collieries on Monday 18th against Ashton Town will be on the website soon. Atherton Collieries: Josh Harris, Jake Kenny, James Brooks, Andrew Heald, Mark Ayres, Gareth Carson, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Mark Battersby, Kris Holt, Mark Truffas - Substitutes: Phil Howard, Matt Grimshaw, Nathan Battersby, Matty Boland, Jake PattonSt Helens Town: Christopher Brinksman, Christopher Cottington, Micheal Houghton, Hamish Falconer, Aaron Morris, Jack McKay, Andrew Gillespie, Neil Hulme, Paul Cook-Hannah, James Rushton-Woods, Marcus Perry - Substitutes: Samuel Pullinger, Samuel Coulter, CHad Whyte, Joseph Peers, Lewis Saunders, Thomas Barton, Rory Crowther Attendance: 113
Match Report: Zach Pierce