South Shields 3 Atherton Colls 1.

A CROWD of almost 1,800 saw Atherton Collieries fall to a 3-1 defeat to high-flying South Shields with a scoreline that was somewhat harsh on the hardworking visitors, writes Matt Lawton.

A Glenn Matthews goal briefly put the Colls level, but a double from Robert Briggs and a late strike from substitute Jamie Holmes handed the hosts all three points.

The hosts are backed by a home support that is virtually unprecedented at this level – even bearing in mind the likes of Scarborough Athletic and FC United of Manchester before them – and as you’d expect have a particularly formidable home record as Colls travelled north for what is thus far their longest league trip of the season, if not all-time.

Colls started brightly with Ben Hardcastle forcing a smart save from home goalkeeper Liam Connell and largely held their own until the hosts went in front with a freak goal two minutes before the break.

It was an attempt certainly open to debate as to whether it was a shot or a cross, but it all ended with the same result as the north eastern side went a goal up two minutes before the break as Adam Reid was finally beaten with Robert Briggs’ attempt via the crossbar.

Colls frontman Jordan Cover was withdrawn at half time and his replacement Glenn Matthews made an almost immediate impact, drawing Colls level within two minutes of the restart, driving his effort in to Connell’s bottom right hand corner from twenty yards out.

The visitors were level for only twelve minutes, however, as Briggs grabbed his second goal on fifty eight minutes, curling a free kick in to the top corner for his fourth goal in two games.

Four minutes later and the hosts look set to extend their lead when they were awarded a penalty for what was deemed to be a foul on Gavin Cogdon, but Colls goalkeeper Adam Reid stepped up to save Carl Finnigan’s spot kick.

The hosts sealed their victory in the third minute of added time when Jamie Holmes swept home in to the bottom corner after Briggs’ corner was half-cleared.

Atherton Collieries; Adam Reid, Brad Cooke ©, Gareth Peet, Josh Messer (Daniel Lambert 68′), Daniel Lafferty, Chris Lynch, Darrhyl Mason, Kristian Holt (Richard Smith 68′), Jordan Cover (Glenn Matthews 46′), Iain Howard, Ben Hardcastle. Substitutes (not used); Ashley Woods, Jamie Forbes

On Saturday Marine FC visit in the FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round. A large way following is anticipated. Ko 3pm