St Helens Town 2 Atherton Colls 5

COLLS made it through the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup after coming from behind in a seven-goal thriller with NWCFL Prem Division side St Helens Town at Ashton Athletic’s Brocedes Park.

There was a good following from both sides with a total attendance of 113 recorded, including some guests from BBC’s Non-League Show.

The Collieries started out the better of the two sides, hitting the bar and having two other good chances to take the lead inside the first five minutes.

One of the most notable chances was on six minutes, Mark Truffas collected the ball on his left wing before passing t directly through the St Helens box, and Saints’ defenders did a good job in getting the ball clear.

A similar chance for the Collieries was recorded on the 13th minute, this time Ben Hardcastle collected the ball on his right wing, passing into the St Helens box only for it to be again cleared.

Colls failed to turn their early chances into goals and St Helens capitalised on this by scoring two goals in the space of three minutes.

The first was scored on 19 minutes by centre back Hamish Falconer, who fired in after a Saints corner was floated into the Colls area.

The second goal came when captain Andrew Gillespie curled into the left hand corner of the goal from 25 yards out.

Despite going 2-0 down the Collieries kept going, searching for that goal which would give them a footpath back into the game.

That goal came from a Truffas set piece on 37 minutes. He fired his free kick low in the bottom of the left hand corner.

Two minutes later the game was nearly level. Colls striker Kristian Holt received the ball just a few yards from the edge of the D, however his shot was fired well wide of the St Helens goal.

Colls finally drew level on 52 minutes after goalkeeper Christopher Brinksman saved the initial shot from striker Mark Battersby. Brinksman weakly parried the shot straight into the path of Hardcastle who tapped in.

Eight minutes later the Collieries recorded another chance on goal, a sweet ball hit forward from  midfield was collected well by Battersby, however his shot drifted wide of the goal.

On 64 minutes Colls deservedly found themselves ahead, a penalty won by Hardcastle was duly dispatched by Battersby – scoring his first of the game.

Colls scored their fourth five minutes later. It was a goal out of nothing, Collieries’ James Brooks ran forward down the wing from his left back position, picking the ball up on his way then finishing after shaking off the St Helens defenders.

Another Collieries goal was scored with just three minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Matty Boland whipped the ball in for fellow substitute Phil Howard to tap in.

The win sets up a trip to Evostik North side Radcliffe Borough in the next round.

On Saturday, Colls host Widnes in a NWCFL Division One fixture, kick-off 3pm.