Report: West Didsbury & Chorlton 1-2 Atherton Collieries

Collieries hadn’t lost on the opening day of a league campaign since August 2009 when they were defeated 1-0 by Oldham Boro. Last season’s opening day was a close affair, as two goals from Ben Hardcastle and Mark Truffas saw Michael Clegg record a 2-1 win at Cammell Laird in his first competitive game in charge. That result proved to be huge as Lairds and Collieries would go on to battle it out for the league title. A year on, both Lairds and Colls found themselves back in the NWCFL Premier Division. For Atherton it was their first season in the top flight since their relegation in 2009 and a trip to bogey side West Didsbury & Chorlton was the first assignment that they were handed. Could West Didsbury & Chorlton truly be classed as a bogey side? After all, the two sides had only met competitively on two occasions during West’s inaugural NWCFL season when they beat Colls to promotion on the last day of the season. Of course they can. The last time Collieries made the trip to Brookburn Road they were beaten 4-1. The last meeting between the two sides will live long in the memory of Collieries fans for all the wrong reasons. Avoid defeat and they would be promoted; lose and West Didsbury had the advantage. A cruel own goal and a stunning free kick gave West a 2-0 victory and ascendency in the promotion race. The weather was very kind for the opening weekend of the 2015/2016 season, with a large away following cheering on Collieries in the Manchester sunshine. A new yellow shirt was on show to reflect the weather as Matt Grimshaw captained the side in the absence of Brad Cooke who was suspended following his dismissal against Glossop North End at the end of last season. Also suspended were Mark Battersby – who was also sent off against Glossop – and Josh Messer who was suspended following a red card against Hindsford last season. Jordan Cover and Matt Boland missed the game through work commitments and injury, leaving Collieries a bit threadbare when it came to attacking options. Fortunately summer signing James Kirby was available for selection and he started up front on his own, ably supported by Mark Truffas, Ben Hardcastle and Gareth Peet who can all be proud of the effort they put in. Attacking towards the clubhouse end in the first half, Atherton can count themselves unlucky not to have taken a lead into the interval following many missed chances. The first opportunity of the match came from a corner on four minutes when centre half James Moore sliced the ball just wide of the left hand post. On 18 minutes, James Kirby played Mark Truffas through one-on-one with West goalkeeper Paul Hughes. Bearing down on goal, the angle became tighter and Truffas was denied by a smart save. Hughes went on to frustrate Collieries as his fantastic performance in goal earned many plaudits from the travelling fans who congregated behind his goal. Two minutes later and Kirby was involved again when he received a throw in on the byline. He cut inside beating the West right back in the process before squaring the ball to Ben Hardcastle. The winger was well positioned but his effort was once again saved and cleared away. The same two players linked again on 23 minutes when Hardcastle cut the ball back to Kirby on the edge of the box. The striker directed his shot towards the bottom right hand corner where it bounced out off the post. It seemed like it wasn’t going to be Collieries day despite the amount of chances they were creating. Truffas went close again moments later before a goal line scramble was dealt with shortly before the interval. The second half saw Collieries continue to test the West Didsbury defence. The home side remained composed at the back and prevented Michael Clegg’s men from taking a deserved lead. With five minutes remaining West Didsbury & Chorlton looked to have completed the ultimate smash and grab when they took the lead. Jamie Wolden carried the ball forward and unleashed a strong shot which Danny Taberner could only parry back into the area. The ball fell to substitute Ashley Woods who duly fired the ball into the net to break Collieries hearts. A minute later and West were on the attack again, and ultimately should have doubled their lead and claimed all three points. Woods was unable to convert from six yards out following great work down the right hand side. The Collieries fans started being philosophical. Perhaps defeat wasn’t a bad thing? It was another form of character building. Two minutes remained when Nathan Battersby grabbed an equaliser from close range. Gareth Peet swung in a corner from the left hand side where it was met by a towering header from Matt Grimshaw. Both James Moore and Battersby were on hand to scramble the ball in, with the latter stabbing the ball in from a couple of feet out. There was now a complete mood swing in the ground, and Collieries believed that they could once again come from behind late on to seal a win. Three minutes of added time were signalled. We arrived in the third minute and another Collieries corner was won. This time it was taken short. The pressure was on. Nathan Battersby received the ball in the area and hit it straight into the roof of the net; West 1-2 Colls. Last kick of the match. A deserved win, sealed in the most dramatic of circumstances. Nathan Battersby; you are a hero. West Didsbury & Chorlton - Paul Hughes, Callum Jones, Michael Simcock, Steven Settle, Mark Rogers, Matthew Eckersley, Daniel Russell, Jordan Poole, Ben Steer, Jonathan Poizer, Lewis Schofield - Substitutes: Scott Jones, Dale Nenbrook, Sam Mitten, Jamie Wolden, Ashley Woods Atherton Collieries - Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Keith Wedge, Matt Cross, James Moore, Matt Grimshaw, Mark Truffas, Kristian Holt, James Kirby, Ben Hardcastle, Gareth Peet - Substitutes: Nathan Battersby, Ahmed Sullay, James Ball, Andy Heald Attendance - 152 Collieries man of the match - Mark Truffas

REPORT: COLLS 0-2 WORKSOP

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