On a wintery Boxing Day, Colls returned to Shawe View, the venue for their first ever game in the Evo-Stik league in August 2017. That game resulted in a 1-1 draw after Trafford missed a penalty to take a 2-0 advantage. Only two names from that game were on the Colls team sheet, Danny Lafferty and Gareth Peet, injuries collected in the home victory against Glossop before Christmas taking their toll. Josh Peet returned to the starting line-up whilst Glenn Matthews and James Kirby took their places on a bench that also contained assistant-manager Andrew Heald.
Kicking in the direction of the Ship Canal, Colls made a blistering start, Conor Gaul immediately attacking down the left and getting away a shot that rattled the side netting with just seconds on the clock. Matt Cooper in the Trafford goal was given a severe test firstly getting down low to deny Tom Bentham then getting a strong hand to a goal bound shot from Ben Hardcastle, all within the opening 15 minutes.
The referee had a very quiet game, he was only really called into action the once when Clive Smith overlapped on the right and was felled on the edge of the box. Claims for a penalty or even a foul both waved away on 20 minutes.
Trafford came to life themselves late on in the first half with Harry Winter and Chris Palmer shooting straight at Hartley in the goal, a precursor of what would continue late in the second half.
The second half started very much the same as the first with Colls again in the ascendancy. That endeavour was rewarded on 52 minutes when a corner came back out to Oli Roberts who teased a glorious ball into the 6 yard box, clearing the giant frame of Keil O'Brien for Tom Bentham to plant a header into the net. Reward for the no.8 who worked tirelessly up front.
Colls continued to press and had two more chances to double the lead through Sherlock and Gaul before Trafford started to threaten themselves, a corner on 62 minutes emerged from the descending fog for Ian Rowlands to clear on the far post as the Trafford fans behind the goal attempted to will the ball into the net.
With Greg Hartley comfortably dealing with shots from distance and controlling his box when the ball entered, Colls went in hunt of a goal to kill the game off. They came very close on 82 minutes when substitute James Kirby fired a rising shot into the side-netting, the Trafford keeper one of the few people in the ground aware it was just off target.
Another shot from distance was fired in by Trafford on 84 minutes, this time from one of their substitutes Aaron Burns and despite looking off target, it took a wicked deflection off Ian Rowlands, leaving Hartley wrong-footed and nestling in the goal for the equaliser. Neither team were content with the point and both were looking to find the winner, some valiant defending by the Colls rear-guard ensured a deserved point was secured.
Speaking after the game, reflecting on our first draw of the season, manager Micheal Clegg praised both teams for the quality of the game and acknowledged that Trafford deserved their leveller. Trafford manager Tom Baker also called the draw a fair result, praising the Colls defending towards the end of the game. Atherton Collieries: Greg Hartley, Clive Smith, Gareth Peet, Oliver Roberts (Glenn Matthews 83'), Danny Lafferty, Ian Rowlands, Dave Sherlock, Tom Bentham, Ben Hardcastle, Conor Gaul, Josh Peet (James Kirby 77'). Substitutes (not used): Ben Conway, Vinny Bailey, Andrew HealdGoal(s): Tom Bentham (53')Man of the Match: Tom Bentham Attendance: 297