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Flat Cap derby ends in a draw
10:21pm Sunday 10th March 2013 in Sport
Atherton Collieries 1 Atherton Laburnum Rovers 1
THE much anticipated meeting of the two Atherton clubs was finally completed on Monday night, having been abandoned on Boxing Day with Colls leading 2-0.
The home side seemed to go into the game with the mentality that they were already two goals ahead.
This allowed for a rather quiet opening half hour, which the visitors shaded.
Mitch Leece did have the chance to put Colls in front in the tenth minute with an overhead kick, but it was too central to give Chris Cheetham much trouble in the LR goal.
A 23rd minute free kick found Ben Hyde in space to head goalwards for Rovers. Colls' goalkeeper, Carl Williams would probably have saved it but for his slip.
LR weren't ahead for long.
Just seven minutes later, Chris Cheetham came rushing out of his goal to claim the ball. His own defender didn't hear his call and went for the same ball. The resulting mix up allowed Paul Atherton to chip the ball 20 yards from the corner of the box into an empty net.
The home side were back in it and shaded possession from then until the break, but failed to capitalise with a tame effort from Mitch Leece on the stroke of half time.
Colls were definitely the quickest out of the blocks in the second half and had their first chance within a minute of the restart.
The ball fell to Paul Atherton on the edge of the six yard box, but it seemed to get caught under his feet and he was unable to get the power behind it to worry Chris Cheetham.
Five minutes later, Colls had a penalty appeal turned down.
Something of a let off for Rovers, but the pressure continued on their goal.
Brad Cooke shot just wide in the 53rd minute, before Simon Howard forced a fine save from Cheetham with a powerful header two minutes later.
The visitors' chances were reduced to almost non-existent in the final half hour, whilst Colls' pressure never paid off.
The closing ten minutes saw Colls go very close twice more.
First, a Simon Howard header went wide. Then in the 86th minute, a penalty-box pinball moment saw two good reaction saves from Chris Cheetham and 154 spectators wondering how the ball stayed out.
The visitors were reduced to ten men in injury time when scorer, Ben Hyde received his second booking, but there was no time for the home side to make their numerical advantage count and the points were shared.
It took time to get going, but the game and atmosphere eventually did live up to expectations.
The draw will only serve to make for a more interesting encounter in the return fixture at Crilly Park over Easter.