A FIRST goal in 347 minutes of football proved cruelly not to be enough for Atherton Collieries on their first sojourn to Queens Terrace, home of Ossett Albion.

After briefly getting back on level terms Colls succumbed to a fourth consecutive defeat after the side sitting second from bottom scored twice in eight minutes.

Colls gave a debut to custodian Greg Hartley, while young gun Matty Fearnley made his first start and there were welcome returns for Jamie Forbes and Gareth Peet in what proved to be a scrappy affair on a pitch that had been covered in snow the day before.

The blowy conditions made it difficult for both teams and route-one football was the norm.

The hosts led at the interval having capitalised on the only real clear-cut chance of the half in the 36th minute when a driven long ball cut open the Colls defence and substitute Tommy Wood, who had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes, was on hand to finish decisively.

Fearnley had smashed an effort into the near-post side netting before he drove in a tempting cross which just evaded Iain Howard by inches.

The game could only improve as a spectacle after the break and it did significantly.

Albion almost doubled the advantage within seconds of the restart but a Scott Metcalfe effort was deflected onto the post and to safety.

A tantilising Ben Hardcastle cross picked out Howard in the six-yard box and his effort unfortunately wedged between the legs of the relieved keeper Brett Souter.

Hardcastle found himself with the ball on the edge of the box with the net unguarded but he chipped narrowly wide and then Fearnley was foiled by Souter in a one-on-one before his attempt from the rebound somehow missed the target by millimetres.

On 69 minutes the fans did celebrate a goal for the first time since November 20.

Hardcastle fizzed a palatable centre across the six yard box and Peet was on hand to apply the finishing touch at the far post.

Colls looked the likely winners but five minutes later an Albion corner wasn't adequately cleared and Metcalfe arrowed a volley past the helpless Hartley.

Matters were compounded in the 82nd minute when the taker of a home free-kick slipped upon contact and the ball blooped up into the air but uncannily landed perfectly at the feet of the grateful Wood who finished with aplomb for his brace.

Colls' depleted team gave everything and in a game of small margins were unlucky not to get a point.

Colls: Greg Hartley, Jake Kenny, Gareth Peet, Danny Lafferty, Jamie Forbes, Glenn Matthews (Seb Julien 67), Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke (Jordan Cover 78), Matty Fearnley, Iain Howard, Josh Messer.

Colls play Clitheroe and Bamber Bridge at home on Saturday and Monday, 3pm and 7.45pm respectively.