22/23 Match Preview: Atherton Collieries

The Lions will hope for a positive outcome after falling short against FC Halifax Town in midweek, as they face Atherton Collieries at Nethermoor Park on Boxing Day in a 3pm kick-off, writes Harry Ware.

Match sponsored by: Terrafirma

Tickets can be purchased online in advance here. Tickets will also be on sale on the day at the turnstiles with payment by cash only, it is also cash payments only inside the ground for programmes and 50/50 cash draw tickets. Food and drink from The Lions’ Diner and clubhouse food servery can be paid for by cash or card and the clubhouse accepts and prefers payment by card.

Tickets are priced at £12 adults, £8 concessions/students/registered disabled, U18’s £5 and accompanied U11’s £1.

It is the first Boxing Day clash at Nethermoor with fans since 2019, three years ago Chris Sang and Lee Shaw found the net in a 2-0 victory over Farsley Celtic.

Guiseley AFC Supporters’ Club’s Christmas Cash Draw takes place after the game in the clubhouse with tickets on sale for £1 each at their desk, there’s £475 in prize money up for grabs!

Previous Meetings

The two sides last met in 2020 at Nethermoor, when the Lions came out on top in a 4-0 victory against the Colls in the Emirates FA Cup Second Round Qualifying.

Kaine Felix bagged a brace on that day for the Lions, which combined with a Mark Howarth strike and own goal sent the Lions into the Third Qualifying Round of the famous Cup.

Clive Smith, Gaz Peet, Danny Lafferty and Marcus Cusani all played for the Colls that day, and will be looking for a better outcome this time around.

The Lions’ Form Book

Despite battling well against National League opposition, the Lions narrowly lost out to FC Halifax Town in the Isuzu FA Trophy last Tuesday.

After the original date was postponed due to a frozen pitch, most games in the competition were played in midweek.

Festus Arthur’s goal in the first half was enough for the Shaymen to progress in to the fourth round.

However in the league, Paul Phillips will be looking to build on the Lions’ 1-0 victory against Morpeth Town at the start of the month, in what was the perfect response after four league defeats in a row.

Lewis Whitham’s 90th minute winner ensured the Lions claimed an important three points, and will be looking to add to his tally against Atherton.

A Look At Atherton Collieries

The Colls have had a relatively comfortable season so far, sitting in 13th place after 21 games. Brad Cooke’s side have drawn the joint-most number of games this season, after gaining a point from nine matches this campaign.

Atherton have not played since the 3rd December, after several games across the UK were postponed for frozen pitches.

However, they were victorious on that day, completing a comeback against Stafford Rangers away from home to claim all three points in the league.

Adam Rooney and Scott Bakkor got the goals for the Colls, who moved up to 13th with the win.

Atherton lack an out and out goal scorer but make up for it with goals coming from all over the pitch. Defender Danny Lafferty, who was part of the Atherton squad against the Lions two years ago, is the top scorer for the Colls, with three goals in the league.

Brad Cooke’s side have been fairly inconsistent when it comes to form in the Northern Premier League, which sets up an interesting encounter on Boxing Day.

A Look At The Lions

Cam Mason, Zak Dearnley and Kallan Murphy could all make their debuts on Boxing Day.

Leigh Whelan is in line for his first league appearance after an impressive debut against FC Halifax Town in the Isuzu FA Trophy last time out.

Andy Kellett returned from injury in the midweek clash and could get successive starts, but Jake Cassidy and Spencer Harris are likely to miss out through injury.

What Are They Saying?

Paul Phillips gave us his thoughts after the unlucky defeat to FC Halifax Town, and praised his players despite the result:

“We switched off a little bit, but I thought we was outstanding from minute one, against a very good team that’s on a very good run, two leagues higher.”

“We have shown exactly what we can do, but that little bit of quality has won them the game so fair play to them, and I wish them luck in the next round, but I’m proud of the boys in there to tonight.”

“I asked them to give me everything and they did do. I think they did the club proud tonight.”

Phillips also spoke about the need for consistency. After four league losses in a row, the Lions will be looking to build on the 1-0 win against Morpeth Town.

“The squad’s looking good, we just need to make sure now we get consistency”

“We need things to settle down now, we need games to come thick and fast, which they will do over the Christmas period.”

“They (the fans) came out in their numbers. I think they got their money’s worth.”

After a good individual display against the Shaymen, Phillips also spoke about the positive impact Lewis Whitham is having.

The winger has scored two goals since arriving from Alfreton Town at the start of November, including a last-minute winner against Morpeth last time out in the league.

“Superb player, you can tell the talent, he caused them all sorts of problems.”

“He’s a great talent, he needs to keep going and progressing forward and he’ll have a massive future in the game.”

The Lions boss also gave us his thoughts ahead of the Boxing Day matchup against Atherton Collieries:

“I’m hoping to have everyone available, Cassidy’s probably a couple of weeks off, the lads who are cup tied can now come into the squad.”

Lewis Whitham also spoke ahead of the clash against the Colls, and stated the squads aim of reaching the play-offs:

“(We want to) get back to how we were playing, obviously this game and the game against Morpeth we’ve had two positive performances.”

“If we take these two performances now into the next six games we could be up there in play-offs and that’s the aim.”

Tickets for the game with Atherton Collieries can be purchased at the turnstiles on the day with cash payment only or online in advance here. Don’t forget to pick up a matchday programme for just £3, it is packed full with exclusive content with what you will find inside here.

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