Atherton Collieries progressed to the semi-final of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy with a 6-0 triumph over West Didsbury & Chorlton.
Brad Cooke’s side came into the game looking to avenge last season’s bruising 2-0 semi-final exit at the hands of the hosts and did so in resounding fashion, netting six goals for the first time since 2019. Jay Fitzmartin, Ben Hardcastle, Joel Amado, Marcus Cusani, Scott Bakkor and Jesse Ebosele all got on the scoresheet, as the Colls ran riot at Brookburn Road.
Colls shuffled the pack for the midweek cup-tie with Scott Bakkor, Danny Lafferty and Arran Pettifer all rested with Jack Lenehan, Marcus Cusani and Adam Rooney returning to the side. 18-year-old Owen Mooney also enjoyed an assured debut between the sticks, having been drafted in on a short-term loan from Wigan to cover the injured Nico Defreitas-Hansen.
It was Jay Fitzmartin who scored the opener after just 12 minutes, latching onto Ethan Kershaw's pass and finishing into the far corner with aplomb. The lead was doubled within a minute, Ben Hardcastle seizing on Andrew Jones' weak clearance and finding the corner for his first goal since returning to the club earlier in the month.
That would be how it stayed until the second-half, Pettifer and Bakkor entering the fray as Colls looked to pick-off a tiring West Didsbury side. Joel Amado eventually put the game beyond doubt, rising well to meet Jay Fitzmartin's corner and nod a looping header into the back of the net. Fitzmartin created another moments later, his pinpoint free-kick converted by Marcus Cusani at the near post to make it four.
Colls weren't done there however, Scott Bakkor scoring the pick of the bunch with an audacious lob from distance after a mix-up between goalkeeper and defenders. Andrew Jones' denied Ethan Kershaw a goal with a smart save late-on but moments later could only parry an effort into the path of Jesse Ebosele, the young striker slotting home his first' Colls goal to round-off an impressive victory.
Whilst a semi-final awaits, Colls' focus returns to league action this Saturday as they face league-leaders South Shields at the Skuna Stadium. Kick off 3pm.
Colls: Mooney, Smith, Amado, Lenehan (Pettifer 67'), Rooney, Defreitas-Hansen, Kershaw, Hardcastle, Thompson (Bakkor 73'), Fitzmartin, Cusani (Ebosele 79')
Unused Subs: Lafferty, Peet
Man of the Match: Jay Fitzmartin (Sponsored by Regency Glass)
Report: Danny Brown
Photo: Rob Clarke