Colls stand firm against leaders

ALL LEVEL: Action from Colls’ draw at South Shields. Picture by David Featherstone
ALL LEVEL: Action from Colls’ draw at South Shields. Picture by David Featherstone

Atherton Collieries secured a point away from home with a goalless draw against league leaders South Shields, extending their unbeaten away record in the NPL Premier Division.

An organised display saw Brad Cooke’s side record a fourth consecutive clean sheet, nullifying the home side’s threat and almost claiming all three points in the process.

Colls started the game strongly on the east coast and carved out a handful of early opportunities, Ethan Kershaw heading over with five minutes on the clock.

Scott Bakkor had a lively game playing as the lone striker and almost netted a beauty, skilfully beating his man before curling narrowly over the bar.

A defensive mix-up almost gifted Colls the lead, Jay Fitzmartin intercepting a weak back-pass and poking the ball inches wide with an improvised first-time effort.

The hosts grew into the game as the half wore on but lacked a finishing edge, with a number of wayward strikes failing to trouble Nico Defreitas-Hansen in the Colls net.

The first save of the game came courtesy of Shield’s Myles Boney, the stopper getting a hand on to a deflected Gaz Peet effort to turn it behind.

The second half saw Shields dominate possession but they often found themselves frustrated by Colls’ well-organised defence, marshalled by captain Danny Lafferty.

Kershaw saw a stinging strike from distance whistle wide of the post before Defreitas-Hansen made his first save of the game from Mottley-Henry in the 70th minute.

The closest the home side came was through Robert Briggs, his piledriver missing the post by centimetres in the only real moment of worry for Colls.

Deep into stoppage time Colls had a glorious chance to take all three points, a quick break from a corner seeing Aaron Smith in on goal but his effort was thwarted from close-range .

Colls are next in action tonight when they travel to face Marine in another league clash.

Then, on Saturday, Michael Clegg’s Ashton United visit the Skuna Stadium (3pm).