ATHERTON Collieries were unable to rob the riches from Robin Hood County, departing Basford United with a 2-0 defeat. The loss also marked the end of a great five-match winning streak, a new record for the Collieries at this level of football.

Despite the final match before Christmas historically often being a quiet and modest affair, supporters at Greenwich Avenue broke the mould and were in jubilant spirits throughout the game, with Basford hosting a Christmas jumper day enjoyed by the home and away faithful alike.

The first half’s football was evenly balanced, with both teams offering the occasional threat but unable to make a breakthrough. Luke Hutchinson continued his fine run of form between the sticks with another impressive save on the quarter-hour mark, whilst fifteen minutes later Danny Lafferty came close for the visitors with a strong header from a set-piece routine.

In a half of limited chances, Basford came closest as the half-time whistle drew nearer, as the dangerous Dom Roma lost his marker from a set-piece and headed narrowly over, to the relief of the travelling faithful.

Basford United took control of the match in the second half, although Colls did start brightly. Marcus Cusani and Gaz Peet both created early threats for the Stripes, as a succession of early corners gave the boys in green an opportunity to take the lead, to no avail.

The Ambers took a deserved lead moments later, punishing from a set-piece of their own. A well-worked corner routine allowed Brad Gascoigne to power home a low header after 65 minutes of play.

Zack Clarke and Aaron Smith soon entered the field of play to offer the Collieries a new attacking impetus, and Clarke indeed soon came close for the Colls, shooting narrowly over following some smart wing play from Gaz Peet.

Scott Sephton also came close for the Colls, with a finely placed low shot catching stopper Jordan Pierrepont off-guard from the edge of the penalty box, but failing to find the target.

The Colls entered injury time trying their best to force some momentum, however Basford managed to put the game to bed with moments left on the clock. Specialising once more in set-pieces, another smart routine allowed Kane Richards to head home.

Despite the result, the travelling Atherton loyal were in fine spirits before, during and after the evening’s proceedings, and we would like to place on record our thanks to Basford United for their warm hospitality. As clouds of doubt begin to linger above the football season once more, the result was of reduced importance as supporters were grateful to simply enjoy the occasion.

In midweek, Colls shook 18 times winners Chorley in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy. In a game switched to the Skuna because of issues with the Chorley pitch, Brad Cooke’s team thoroughly deserved their 4-2 win to set up a March semi final with either Ashton Athletic or West Didsbury & Chorlton. The mercurial Marcus Cusani grabbed a brace. Clive Smith and Rowan Roache were also on the scoresheet.

On Monday 27 December the black n white stripes host Radcliffe FC in a league fixture. Ko 3pm. Check The club’s social media for up to date info in this game.