Atherton Collieries travelled to the home of Witton Albion in the Pitching In Northern Premier League, but in a game of little quality, Colls fell to a 2-0 defeat. Brad Cooke made two changes to the line-up which lost to Gainsborough the just three days earlier. Joel Amado and Clive Smith slotted into the defence in place of Niall Battersby and Scott Sephton.
Both teams began the early exchanges of the game implementing similar playing styles to each other; using their physicality and high work-rate to try and gain an edge. That being said, Colls certainly had the edge early on.
The first big chance of the game came within the first 10 minutes of the game. A corner for Colls whipped in by Jack Lenehan fell to the feet of Luca Defreitas-Hansen, unfortunately his volleyed effort went just over the bar.
Colls came close again about 10 minutes later. Some good work down the left from Gaz Peet who beats his man and feeds it to Jack Lenehan from close range, but Witton stopper, Greg Hall, made a smart reaction save to deny the Colls midfielder.
After the initial Colls onslaught in the first 20 minutes, the hosts started to find their feet and see a lot more of the ball.
Efforts from Witton’s James Foley and Nathan Okome tested the Colls defensive unit, but their efforts failed to test Luke Hutchinson.
Many in attendance would agree that the first half was a relatively even affair, the second half was a different story.
Witton came out of the blocks firing, Josh Wardle coming close with a header just moments into the second half.
It didn’t take long for Witton’s dominance to prove effective. Jawad Jebrin, who had only just been introduced as a substitute, got behind the Colls backline down the right then picks out James Foley, who seemed to be in acres of space in the box, and just slots the ball into the corner.
Colls almost responded immediately. Elliot Rokka, who had only just been introduced to the action, burst into the box but he fired his effort just over the bar.
From then on, very little was created by either side. Colls lacked the killer instinct in front of goal and some sloppy passing meant that Cooke’s men couldn’t find their rhythm to challenge for the equalising goal.
From then on, Witton pressed on to try and double their lead. Luke Hutchinson did well to deny Nathan Okome’s low drive, and Will Jones couldn’t turn his free header on target.
It wasn’t until the 85th minute that the home side finally killed the game. Witton’s in-form striker, Callum Saunders, made it 7 goals in consecutive games with an effort at the back post.
As the referee blew the whistle for full time, the disappointment from the Colls players and coaching staff was apparent. As described by Brad Cooke after the game, the performance in the second half was flat. Very little in terms of attacking output from the lads. Full credit to Witton Albion who took the game by the scruff of the neck and got a deserved victory in the end.
A special shout-out to the Colls fans that made the trip. I believe there were just as many away fans there as home fans in attendance, and they were behind the boys all the way. We go again on Saturday! Colls face a trip to local rivals, Ashton United in the FA Trophy on Saturday 30th October, kicking off at 3:00pm. Keep an eye on our social media for ticket details, we can’t wait to see you there getting behind the boys.
Atherton Collieries Line-up: Luke Hutchinson, Clive Smith, Gaz Peet, Danny Lafferty (C), Joel Amado, Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Ethen Kershaw, Danny Lambert, Matty Gillam (Dylan Glass 54’), Jack Lenehan (Elliot Rokka 60’), Aaron Smith (Lewis Doyle 82’)Unused Subs: Niall Battersby, Scott SephtonBolton Arena Man of the Match: Gaz Peet Written by: John Holland
Photography: Dave Featherstone