Report: Colls 4-1 Stalybridge

A tremendous first half display and a final gloss saw Atherton Collieries progress to the third round of the Integro League Cup and a home tie with league rivals Marine. With the competition already in its latter stages elsewhere, the recent weather saw this oft-postponed second round encounter switched to Stalybridge‘s Bower Fold home in an effort to get the tie played. Despite arguably starting the brightest, Adam O’Reilly curling an effort past the post, the hosts might have been forgiven for hoping for another postponement as a lightning first half saw Colls lead 3-0 at the break. Brad Cooke’s Colls went a goal in front on 16 minutes, Ben Conway’s pinpoint right wing corner being rewarded a thumping Matt Makinson header. That lead was doubled eight minutes later, Louis Myers being bundled over thirty yards out and Danny O’Brien smashing home the resultant free kick via the underside of the crossbar. Colls were rampant at this point and went agonisingly close to a third goal on 34 minutes, Conway cutting inside on his right foot from the edge of the area and curling an effort that brushed past the far post. When playing in such a mood, it was inevitable that Colls would add to their lead, and it duly arrived barely two minutes with a flowing counter attack. Tom Bentham did well to press forward and brush off the challenge of Scott Metcalfe before teeing up the impressive O’Brien to deliver a delicious cross straight on to the head of Myers at the back post, giving Alex Fojticek, on loan from Manchester United, no chance in the Stalybridge goal. With relatively little goalmouth action in the second half, Stalybridge pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining through substitute Ross Dent, slotting a loose ball past Paddy Wharton after a bout of penalty area pinball. The hosts forced a succession of corners late on, but failed to find a way past a dogged Colls defence, and the 2017/18 League Cup winners were even able to add a fourth goal in injury time as they celebrated progression to the next round, Iwan Murray jinking inside the penalty area and lashing home. Colls are back in action this coming Saturday when Grantham Town are the visitors for a 3pm kick off for what is something of a Lottery Winners-themed afternoon. The successful local band will be acting as mascots for the side, bedecked in special edition kits for the occasion, before playing a free gig in the clubhouse after the game to celebrate the launch of their debut album. Atherton Collieries: Paddy Wharton, Danny O’Brien, Gareth Peet, Clive Smith, Danny Lafferty ©, Matt Makinson, Caine Noble, Ashley Dunn, Louis Myers (Jordan Cover 70‘), Tom Bentham (Dylan Glass 62’), Ben Conway (Iwan Murray 90’). Substitutes (not used): Jamal Crawford, Niall Battersby. Goals: Matt Makinson (16'), Danny O’Brien (24'), Louis Myers (36’), Iwan Murray (90+3’) Rama Spice Man of the Match: Danny O’Brien Attendance: 106 Match Report: Matt Lawton

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