ATHERTON Collieries triumphed 1-0 at home to Boston United in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy to reach the first round proper.

The first half was an even affair as both sides shared possession politely. This was epitomised beautifully on eleven minutes, both sides hit the woodwork one after another in a remarkable 60 seconds of action. It was the visitors who first warmed the woodwork, Pierce Bird flicking the ball against the post from a deep United corner. Counter-attacking from this, a ball across to Ben Hardcastle rebounded almost instantly as the winger drove the ball straight at goal.

Creative midfielder Vinny Bailey provided the only other real effort of a quite tame half of football. In a similar move to Hardcastle’s earlier near miss, the ball was cut across to Bailey who fired a low and hard shot across the box and towards the bottom left hand corner. Alert, Boston stopper Peter Crook met it with a fine save to tip behind the goal.

Half chances came and went in the first period and the only one thing was obvious going into half time and that was something special was required to break the deadlock between the two sides.

Both sides came into the game a lot more in the second half, earlier threats from Gaz Peet were repelled as United’s defence refused to let anything slip through.

In truth, Boston took the game to Colls a bit more as the fifth-placed National League North outfit pressed continuously. Substitutions, though, from Clegg saw Dave Sherlock, Danny O’Brien and Danny Lambert introduced into the game and a new-found strength in midfield.

On 71 minutes Hardcastle showed promise as he broke into the United area. As he cut inside he hit a direct ball across the face of goal. Frustrated, the winger could only watch on as it tickled away for a goal kick.

As a replay loomed both sides, again, stepped up their attacking moves but a goal just didn’t look likely. Hartley made a fine save with just eight minutes left on the clock. Shaun Tuton unleashed a ferocious effort from sixteen yards out, Hartley dived to his right and partied away from danger with a strong hand.

The game changed from here as Atherton attacked and attacked. On 88 minutes the deadlock was finally broken and a cup upset was on the cards. In a packed out Boston box, Gaz Peet sent a pin-pointed ball to the feet of Michael Brewster. The eventual man of the match slotted the ball into the back of the net. A stylish finish to top a stylish performance. Cue roaring scenes of celebration across the Skuna.

Another milestone reached for Clegg and his management team as they matched the promotion-chasing National League North team throughout.

They have been drawn at home to National League leaders Barrow in Round One.

On Saturday they host Bamber Bridge in the Northern Premier League, kick off 3pm