FOLLOWING a strong opening to the season, Atherton Colls tasted a 2-1 defeat at Witton Albion.

Described as a ‘game of two halves’ by manager Brad Cooke, a poor first half display saw Colls 2-0 down at the break, with Dylan Glass pulling one back in the second half.

Danny Lafferty had a last-gasp equaliser chalked out for offside.

Colls found themselves behind inside two minutes.

A from the right found Albion’s Will Jones, who headed home.

From there it went from bad to worse, as keeper Eliott Wynne was judged to have brought down Albion’s Scott Bakkor in the box as the forward raced through on goal.

It looked like the Colls man had taken the ball fairly but the referee pointed straight to the spot and showed Wynne, in for the injured Danny Taberner, a yellow card for his troubles.

James Foley dispatched the spot kick into the bottom corner to double the hosts’ lead on 15 minutes.

Ben Conway limped off shortly after and was replaced by Elliot Rokka.

Another defensive scare on the half-hour mark saw Rick Smith next to go into the book, his poor pass forcing him to bring down his man.

Cooke wasted no time making changes at half-time, with Dylan Glass and Jack Lenehan on to replace Jordan Darr and Niall Battersby, as Colls shifted to a 4-3-3 shape.

The tactical changes made an immediate impact with the first chance of the half falling to Colls, as Marcus Cusani stung the hands of Chris Renshaw from a slick counter attack.

Rick Smith headed an effort off the line shortly before Glass was able to halve the deficit at the other end, racing clear of the Albion defence and slotting past the keeper with 20 minutes to go.

Glass’ strike gave Colls new-found confidence, with the away side dominating much of the possession in the latter stages as they chased the equalising goal.

Some good footwork from Elliott Rokka saw him able to cut inside in the area but his shot was deflected away, with Jack Lenehan’s follow up also thwarted by the defender.

A glorious chance fell to Rick Smith with five minutes to go, the defender finding himself free at the back post but unable to turn the ball home, in part due to the wet conditions in the box.

Deep into stoppage time Colls thought they had snatched a late equaliser, a reverse pass finding Danny Lafferty in the area who lashed it into the top corner. Celebrations were cut short however, as the linesman’s flag was up with the Colls skipper judged to have been narrowly offside.

Cooke said: “It was a game of two halves. First half it was men against boys but second half I thought we came out and really gave it a go. I changed the shape in the first half so I’m happy to take the blame for the first half performance, I thought we were much better after the changes.

"We were knocking on the door in the second half. They’re a very good side and we’ve taken them right down to the wire and had a goal disallowed. It shows we’re not a million miles off.

"I’m frustrated, not so much with the result but certainly with the first half performance. We’ll go again against Stafford. ”

In midweek the black n white stripes had produced a five-star display when they lowered the colours of Bamber Bridge at the Skuna.

Jordan Darr bagged a brace. Danny Lafferty, Elliot Rokka and Jack Banister were also on the scoresheet in a convincing 5-0 win.

City of Liverpool are in downtown Atherton on Saturday in the Buildbase FA Trophy. On Tuesday Matlock Town visit in the league. Kick offs 3pm and 7.45pm respectively.