Report: West Didsbury & Chorlton 0-4 Atherton Collieries

The Lancashire Challenge Trophy was near the bottom of the list of priorities for manager Michael Clegg when he mapped out his plans at the commencement of the campaign but the 4-1 win at AFC Blackpool in the previous round was a standout display. He was in a quandary as to what side to put out given the packed schedule but recent postponements at AFC Blackpool and Colne forced his hand to go with experience as the players needed games. Steve Dryden replaced Danny Taberner between the sticks, young gun Jacob Jones got a runout at left back with Brad Cooke and Jimmy Moore making up the engine room. Kristian Holt and Josh Messer were on the bench along with the returning Matty Grimshaw & Gareth Peet. Nathan Battersby, Keith Wedge and Mark Truffas given the night off. The weather had been awful and although the pitch was softer than usual it was in good condition testament to top notch performance put in by the groundsman. Both teams were up for the game and it started at a decent pace. The first real attempt at goal brought Dryden into action and he made a fine point-blank save from a header from an unnaturally long throw. On 12 minutes the Didsbury custodian Hayden Buckley-Smith juggled a Mark Battersby free-kick at the far post but the ball was bundled to safety under pressure from Cooke. Colls started to assert themselves and took the lead in the 26th minute. Ben Hardcastle's burst in the box was stopped when he was sandwiched between two defenders. Referee Holmes had no hesitation to give a penalty although there may have been a hint of handball by Hardcastle in the build-up. Mark Battersby smashed home an unstoppable spot-kick to reach double figures for the campaign. The lead was soon doubled when a through ball wasn't cut out and Jordan Cover and Buckley-Smith were left one on one. The pacey striker was always favourite as he took the ball the unfortunate keeper before caressing it home. Hardcastle added the goal of the evening with ten minutes of the half remaining. With no back lift at all he struck a pearler of a shot which nestled inside the far right hand post. The second half wasn't as exciting as the first. The hosts carved out some good openings but the veteran Dryden was in imperious form. Firstly he saved a ball arrowing into the top right hand corner of the net and then he got his positional play spot on when he blocked a close range shot from a narrow angle. When he was seemingly beaten the near post came to his rescue. The sweetly struck shot rebounded to safety. Colls continued to be dangerous on the break but were playing within themselves. Grimshaw had a far post header saved but the fourth goal came in injury time. Battersby was allowed the freedom of the Didsbury goal area but for once his control let him down. He got a lucky assist though as Dave Sherlock picked up the loose ball and tapped home. A thoroughly professional performance against decent opposition. It once again showed the quality of the squad assembled. Who will be our opponents in the quarter finals - Ashton Athletic away? Team Steve Dryden, Jake Kenny, Jacob Jones, Jimmy Moore (Lewis Coleman 67'), Mark Ayres, Callum Jones (Matty Grimshaw 72') , Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Mark Battersby (c), Jordan Cover (Kristian Holt 60') & Dave Sherlock Subs not used - Josh Messer & Gareth Peet Match Report – Emil Anderson Picture - James Lobley 

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