Atherton Collieries 4 Leek CSOB 0
COLLS finally made their first outing of the year.
Ex Atherton LR goalie and manager, the evergreen Phil Priestley, made his debut and the ever greener Brian Hatton commenced his second spell with the club.
Leek had been suffering a poor season and after suffering three consecutive league defeats Colls needed a victory to re-eatablish their promotion credentials in the North West Counties League.
Steve Piling was happy with a second clean sheet on the trot.
The result puts Colls back up to third in the league.
Paul Atherton almost scored after 4 minutes but his reflex shot from a free kick was clawed away by Leek keeper Craig Bould.
Colls were in the ascendancy, Mitch Leece’s snapshot was pushed round the post by Bould and from the corner Kieran Halliwell headed wide.
On 20 minutes tricky winger Thomas Lowe forced Priestley into his first ever Colls save.
Colls took a deserved lead on the half hour, Karl Atherton fed Leece in the box and he finished clinically.
Minutes later a poor back header saw Oliver Mellor run clear and he attempted to chip Priestley who got his positioning right and he pushed the ball to safety.
Colls doubled the lead in first half stoppage time, Bould fumbling a cross and Leece tapped in from yards out.
Colls were dominant in the second half but the heavy conditions made quality football difficult.
Karl Atherton shot just cleared the bar before Josh Peet‘s attempt from distance went narrowly wide.
Bould made a great save from a Chris Lawton header but it was unnecessary as the offside flag was up.
The lead was increased on 74 minutes.
A Leek defender conceded a needless free kick at the corner flag. Brad Cooke’s dangerous free kick was headed in by Paul Atherton.
Karl Atherton wrapped things up just before the end of the game with a shot from just inside the box.
* Man of the match was Mitch Leece. There was a minute‘s silence prior to the game in tribute to Mitch's father Andy, who died at the beginning of the year.
* There are 13 games left with plenty of fixtures against promotion rivals. On Saturday Colls visit top of the league Nelson, KO 3pm.