Report: Winsford 0-2 Colls

Yesterday’s game against Winsford had the potential to be the final chapter of this memorable centenary season. Three points for Clegg’s men and points dropped away at Abbey Hey for Bootle would see the black and whites promoted. The Collieries played their part as they saw the Blues out with a 2-0 win. However Bootle, of course still focusing on a promotion push of their own, managed to pick up three points with a second one goal triumph over Abbey Hey in four days. Clegg, weary of the fact the Colls still have two games to play, made two changes to yesterday’s starting eleven. Jamie Forbes came in for defender Matt Grimshaw and Josh Messer swapped places with Johnny Gorman. It was a beautiful afternoon in leafy Cheshire, a coachload of Atherton supporters enjoyed a pint or two in the sun as the opening minutes of the game unfolded. Nervy would be a suitable word to describe the first period of the game, as has been the case in recent weeks the Collieries who initially struggled in their attacking play. So much so that on 13 minutes Winsford registered the first effort on goal. A rare Vinny Bailey mistake in midfield saw United’s Nathan Cotterell rob the ball and breakaway. The troublesome forward carried the ball down the left flank and into the area before he fired just shy of the right post, a shot that had Colls’ hearts in mouths. A drab half of football unfolded as both sides struggled to create any purposeful chance on goal. Indeed, half chance after half chance came and went and it looked as if no Atherton goal was going to come in this half. A Gaz Peet free kick on thirty seven minutes the only stand out. The left back curled a superb ball from the right side of the Winsford area straight towards the top corner. Unfortunately stopper Matthew Green was equal to it. From this, however, the Blues broke away, chaos in the Collieries’ danger zone unfolded and defender Danny Lafferty was forced to head off the line twice. Indeed, it was a fraught few minutes for the Colls faithful. With seconds of what had been a disappointing half of football remaining, breakthrough. Peet picked up the ball deep on the Winsford left flank. The player of the season candidate drilled a ball into the feet of Jordan Cover, central and only yards from goal. The forward controlled, turned and confidently tapped the ball past Green to open the afternoon’s scoring. A well composed finish from Cover, his 28th of the season. The second half of the game was a lot more flattering as the Collieries controlled the majority of it and allowed Winsford few opportunities on goal. A Cover break on 50 minutes looked as if he would grab his second of the game. The forward pelted through the middle as he took a purposeful heavy touch into the area, this allowed him a run-up to his shot which bounced through the legs of the keeper. The ball tickled towards the back of the net but only a last gasp clearance prevented it from crossing the line. Five minutes later and Winsford hit back. A smart effort from Jordan Johnson on the edge of the area curled just over the bar. United came close again straight after, a back-post William Foster header from a free kick wide of the mark. If anything, this just reminded Colls to not be complacent in defence. On the 70 minute mark, however, the vital second goal was plundered. A Ben Hardcastle corner was cleared to Vinny Bailey twenty five yards out and he headed the ball straight back into the mixer for Cover to flick on. Skipper and birthday boy Brad Cooke chased onto the loose ball and slotted into the back of the net to rapturous applause. As the Collieries whittled down the clock to secure the three points very little else happened, a Grimshaw header from a corner the only real effort of note. Attention now turns to Monday night’s game against Abbey Hey down at the Kensite, People of Atherton/Bolton/Leigh/Wigan and surrounding areas, we need you! Atherton Collieries: Reid, Kenny, Peet, Messer, Forbes, Lafferty (Grimshaw), Hardcastle, Cooke, Cover, Bailey, Mason (Truffas) - Unused Substitutes: Gorman, West and Sherlock.  Match Report by Zach Pierce and Emil Anderson

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