Report: Stocksbridge 2-1 Colls

Atherton Collieries suffered an early exit in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round after squandering a second-half lead away against Stocksbridge Park Steels. 

Aaron Smith’s strike gave Colls the lead, however goals from Ross Goodwin and Elliot Murrary saw Stocksbridge complete a late turnaround, with the home side progressing into the next round at Colls’ expense.

The game was by no means a cup classic, with chances few and far between. Colls did go close through Danny Lafferty in the first half, the captain glancing a header over before Aaron Smith tested the keeper from range.

The home side saw the clearest opportunities as the half wore on, Macaskill firing an effort into the side netting and perhaps unlucky not to set up a goal as his low-drive across the box evaded everyone, with the Colls defence scrambling.

Despite looking well below-par, Colls would take the lead through some fine individual play from Aaron Smith, the winger feigning his shot on the edge of the area and firing into the far bottom corner to give Colls the lead on 55 minutes.

It was to be short-lived however, some scrappy defending from a Stocksbridge corner allowed Elliott Murrary to head the ball down to Ross Goodwin, the Stocksbridge captain reacting quickest to poke home the equaliser in the 67th minute.

Colls' best attacking spell coming after the equaliser, Cusani forcing a save from the keeper and the resulting corner clipping the top of the crossbar, before Ethan Kershaw was denied with a pile-driving effort from deep in midfield.

However things went from bad to worse for Colls, as another Stocksbridge corner was cleared only as far as Poole, who's delivery back into the box was met by Elliott Murray who steered his header past Nico Defreitas-Hansen to give the hosts the lead late on.

It was a deflating goal to concede for Colls, and the afternoon was perhaps summed up best in the final seconds, when Marcus Cusani was presented a golden chance to snatch a replay at the death, but sent his effort sailing well over the crossbar.

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