Colls’ pre-season preparations continued with a comfortable 4-0 victory away to North West Counties League newcomers Wythenshawe Town. On a day where it’s fair to say the weather couldn’t quite make its mind up with warm sunshine being interspersed with stormy downpours and strong winds, Colls were in front inside a minute when Conor Gaul scored a rebound from a few yards out after the home goalkeeper had done well to keep out an initial attempt from Ben Hardcastle.
Gaul went close only seven minutes later when, having taken some time to create the space for himself to have a shot, he saw his effort tipped round the post, with the Wythenshawe goalkeeper starting to impress as he did well to also palm Hardcastle’s 24th minute strike away for a corner.
It took eight second half minutes before Colls finally grabbed a second goal, Tom Bentham timing his run to perfection to receive Hardcastle’s lobbed pass and finish expertly in to the bottom corner.
Having played a part in each of the first two goals, Hardcastle promptly grabbed the final two for himself, first showing a certain amount of ingenuity to flick a bouncing ball up and above the reach of the goalkeeper to before allowing gravity to do its work to allow him to volley in to the now empty net before converting a 67th minute penalty after Ben Conway had been brought down.
Hardcastle came close to a hat trick on 77 minutes when he hit the woodwork and Conway saw his shot saved on the rebound, but Colls had to be content with a four goal victory, following hot on the heels of the midweek 8-1 win away to Euxton Villa ahead of Monday’s visit to neighbours Daisy Hill. Atherton Collieries: Greg Hartley, Dave Sherlock, Matt Grimshaw, Josh Messer, Gareth Peet, Vinny Bailey, Danny Lambert, Ben Conway, Ben Hardcastle, Conor Gaul, Tom Bentham. Substitutes (all used): Josh Peet, Adam Farrell, Danny Lafferty, Devon GoldenGoals: Conor Gaul (1'), Tom Bentham (53'), Ben Hardcastle (59', penalty 67') Match report: Matt Lawton
Photograph: Ian Monk