OPPOSITION FOCUS: ATHERTON COLLIERIES

22 Feb 2024 | Latest News

The Silkmen are back in away league action for the first time this month as we make the journey to Atherton Collieries. 

Tuesday night’s game away at Ashton United was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch meaning The Silkmen haven’t had a league away game since victory over Guiseley.

We take a closer look at our opponents, The Colls.

HISTORY 

The club was established in 1916 by miners from the six pits in Atherton Urban District with the aim of raising money for locals involved in the war effort. After World War I the club joined the Bolton Combination, winning the title in their first season. The season also saw them win the Lancashire FA Amateur Shield, beating Dumers Lane 3–2 after extra time. They joined the Lancashire Alliance in 1921, and won the Shield again in 1923 with a 4–1 against Barnoldswick Town. The club later returned to the Bolton Combination, winning the league in 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39 and 1940–41, followed by another Lancashire FA Amateur Shield in 1942 after Royal Engineers were beaten 3–2. Another title came in 1944–45, after which the club joined the Manchester League for the 1945–46 season.

Their first season in the new league saw them finish third and win the Shield for a fourth time with a 3–2 win over Moss Rovers in 1948 the club joined the West Lancashire League, in which they spent two seasons before joining Division Two of the Lancashire Combination in 1950. However, after finishing sixteenth (out of 22) in 1950–51 and second-from-bottom in 1951–52 they left the league to rejoin the Bolton Combination. Back in the local league, they won the league title again in 1956–57 (also winning the Shield, beating Burnley Albion 3–2 after extra time), 1958–59, 1960–61 and 1964–65 (combined with another Shield win, this time by beating Breightmet United 6–1). In 1971 they rejoined the Lancashire Combination, which was now a single division.

Following their only top-half finish in the league in 1977–78, the club switched to the new Division Two of the Cheshire County League, where they failed to break into the top half of the table during their four years in the league. At the end of the 1981–82 season the league merged with the Lancashire Combination to form the North West Counties League, with Atherton placed in Division Three. This started a spell of relative success for the club, who finished in the top half of the table for four successive seasons, before winning the title in 1986–87 and earning promotion to Division Two.

After nine seasons in Division Two, Atherton were runners-up in 1995–96, resulting in promotion to Division One. In 2001–02 they won the Goldline Trophy with a 1–0 win against Charnock Richard at the Reebok Stadium. Division One was renamed the Premier Division in 2008, but the following season saw the club finish bottom of the Division, leading to relegation to Division One. Following their demotion, the club consistently finished in the top six in the division and won the Division One Trophy in 2010–11. After winning the division in 2014–15 they were promoted back to the Premier Division. In 2015–16 they won the League Cup, beating Colne 5–1 in the final.The following season saw the club win the Premier Division, earning promotion to Division One North of the Northern Premier League. They won the League Challenge Cup in 2017–18, beating Coalville Town 2–1 in the final.

The 2018–19 season saw Atherton placed in Division One West as the Northern Premier League’s second tier was reorganised on an east–west basis. They went on to win the division, earning promotion to the Premier Division.

RECENT FORM 

The Colls have been in mixed form over their last five games. Last time out, Atherton picked up an impressive point away at league leaders Radcliffe. They will feel that could have got all three being 2-0 in front with five minutes to go. Late goals from Jordan Hulme and Brad Jackson saw Radcliffe pick up a very late point.

Varying results at home for Atherton preceded this as a Declan Howe goal saw Gainsborough Trinity pick up three points at the Skuna Stadium. A high scoring victory against Morpeth Town saw Colls’ only win in their last five with four different goal scorers.

Colls were then on the wrong end of a 4-3 score line away at Ashton United despite a late comeback with 10 men. They were also defeated with 10 men as Matlock picked up all three points at The Skuna.

ONE TO WATCH

ENOCH LUSIAMA 

The Atherton centre forward is one to watch. The 24 year old born in Zaragoza joined in November following his departure from Accrington Stanley in the summer.

The striker averages a goal every other game as he has scored eight goals in 16 appearances.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Last time the two sides met, The Silkmen came out convincing winners at the Leasing.com Stadium. Kane Drummond scored four times plus goals from Paul Dawson and John Rooney saw Macc win 6-0 back in November.

 

 

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