The Colls ‘Jolly Boys’ annual pre-season trip out took them to the North East this year to face four time FA Vase winners Whitley Bay. It was a warm summer’s day at Hillheads Park and both sides were geared up for Colls concluding pre-season fixture.
Colls started poorly and just two minutes into the game found themselves behind. Whitley Bay’s Leon Ryan volleyed into the goal after a Bay corner was headed down into the box, straight to Ryan’s feet.
Four minutes later and Colls had a chance to pull a goal back and level the game, summer signing Ben Hardcastle skilled his way into the Bay box, Hardcastle sped round the two covering Bay defenders only for his shot to be blocked behind for a corner by the third Bay defender.
Whitley Bay had a good chance to double their advantage twenty minutes into the game. Bay’s Craig McFarlane found himself on the right hand side of the Colls box, Mcfarlane passed across to Tom Bott whose shot was well saved by Colls keeper Josh Harris.
Half an hour into the game, it was Colls turn to attack. Matty Boland ran towards the bay box from his left wing, cuts in, and shoots, but again the Bay defence got their body in front of if to block the shot and clear the danger.
Colls were now starting to control the game; silly errors gave away possession but the hard working Colls soon won it back on more than one occasion.
With seven minutes left of the first half Colls again were attacking. James Brook received the ball on the outside of the box; turning (whilst under pressure from the Bay defence) he laid the ball off perfectly for Boland. However, his shot curled just wide of the Bay goal.
It was a positive first half performance from Colls, controlling the ball well against the four time FA Vase winners, Whitley Bay defended bravely in the first half and Colls were unlucky not to go in at half time level.
Sixteen minutes into the second half, Brad Cooke took the ball away from Whitley Bay; Cooke took the ball from half way to the edge of the box where he threaded the ball through to Hardcastle whose shot heading for the bottom right hand corner was well saved by Bay’s Mark Cook.
On the sixty fifth minute Bay doubled their lead. Bott had the ball threaded through to him and released his shot which travelled along the deck, Colls second half keeper Danny Taberner, went to collect the ball but an unfortunate error resulted in the ball somehow slipping between his legs and over the line. An unfortunate error by Taberner.
Colls didn’t let their heads drop and worked hard to at least get a goal back. Five minutes after Bay’s second goal a long ball was sent across the Bay half of the pitch towards Colls’ Jake Patton who controlled well and brought the ball down to the deck. Patton passed the ball over to the oncoming Cooke who fired his shot at the Bay goal but again Bay’s number one Cook was equal to it.
Three minutes after Colls were attacking again, working hard to find a goal. Patton had the ball deep into the right hand side of the box. Having the ball on the right foot, he swapped it to the left only for the following shot to be curled well wide of the Bay goal.
Colls final attack came two minutes after the last, a ball was sent forward for Colls’ Tom Shaw to collect down the left wing, Shaw cut inside of the Bay box and fired his shot at the Bay goal, Cook however made his save of the game to make sure Colls found no way back into the game.
Second half Colls could of easily let their heads drop but they didn’t, they kept working, trying to find a way back into the game. A very positive performance from the men in black and white who were deservedly applauded off the pitch by the ever-growing Colls Crazy Gang at the end of the game. Whitley Bay: Mark Cook, Craig McFarlane, Chris McDonald, Craig Smith, Leon Ryan, Chris Reid, Michael Laws, Callum Anderson, Robbie Bird, Tom Bott, Alex Kempster - Substitutes: Steve Buzzeo, Paul Buzzeo, Liam HarrisAtherton Collieries: Josh Harris, Jake Kenny, Nathan Battersby, Andy Heald, Gareth Carson, Chris Lawton, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, James Brooks, Jake Patton, Matty Boland - Substitutes: Matthew Grimshaw, Tom Shaw, Dominic Butler, Danny Taberner Match report: Zach Pierce