23/24 On The Road: Atherton Collieries

It is take-two for The Lions’ clash at Atherton with the game being replayed this Tuesday following its January postponement. Andy Welsh and his side will be looking for victory against the league’s bottom sid, writes Scott Kelly.

Last Time Out

Tuesday night’s hosts fell 3-2 at home to Hyde United after a spirited performance. Atherton went to 2-0 up before goals from Joel Amado, Jack Redshaw and Matthew Fearnley gave Hyde victory.

The Lions clash with Worksop Town on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Prior to Saturday they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Stafford Rangers, who themselves prior to the game were bottom of the table.

Previous Meetings

The sides have only met four times previously. The first was in 2020 when Guiseley won comfortably 4-0 in an Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round tie in a game that was played at the height of the pandemic. The sides met in 22/23 with each home side grabbing the spoils. The Lions won 3-0 on Boxing Day 2022, with current Lion Callum Chippendale bagging a brace. Guiseley then lost 2-1 the following April.

The Lions won 3-2 earlier this season, with two Tom Denton goals and a Gabriel Johnson strike grabbing the points on 10th October.

The Lions’ Form Book

The defeat on Saturday to Stafford Rangers really sums up the Lions season. A victory which on paper looked in the bag due to the form and league position of the opposition. It was anything but straight forward as the Lions were defeated for the third time in 2024, with four victories and a draw to start the year.

If that result is anything to go by, Tuesday night’s opponents should not be under-estimated. The Lions will be fresher, but Atherton are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table and after a grafting performance at Hyde at the weekend, a much better overall performance is needed from the Lions if they are to overcome their lowly hosts.

A Look At Atherton Collieries

Founded: 1916
Managers: David Chadwick
Nickname: The Colls
Stadium: Skuna Stadium
Current league position: 21st

The Colls defeat at Hyde was their first match since 13th February, when they gained a very respectable 2-2 draw at Radcliffe. They have a lot of catching up to do, with some postponements meaning they have two or three games in hand on teams around them.

These give them a glimmer of hope that they can still survive the drop, and to say they have something to play for on Tuesday night is a huge understatement.

It is no surprise that the Colls have the worst home record in the league, collecting just 10 points from 14 matches played at the Skuna Stadium. Their home form has improved slightly in the last couple of months though. Prior to a 4-3 victory over Workington on Boxing Day, they had lost 10 consecutive league matches, which included a 5-0 reverse against Marine and 4-0 against Radcliffe. They have collected two wins from the last four games at home.

Enock Lusiama scored on Saturday and is the clubs top goalscorer with nine goals.

Notable players include Tom Donaghy, who was on the books at Fleetwood Town. Jordan Scanlon was on the books of Rochdale. 25-year-old defender Sidi Fofana represented Macclesfield earlier in his career. Lewis Mansell started at Blackburn Rovers and now at the age of 26 represents the Colls after a spell with Ramsbottom United.

A Look At The Lions

Andy Welsh will be forced to change his side on Tuesday night for the first time in five games.

Kallan Murphy picked up his tenth yellow card of the campaign and will now sit out the next two fixtures through suspension.

Gabriel Johnson and Tom Denton both gained valuable minutes in the loss at Stafford and will be pushing for a starting spot in place of the Irishman.

Ollie Brown went off injured at half-time with Jordi Nsaka returning to fitness with 45 minutes in his legs which could provide Welsh with an option should Brown be ruled out.

Lewis Whitham took part in the warmup in Staffordshire, but the winger is still on with his recovery plan and will miss the game alongside the injured Laurence Sorhaindo.

What Are They Saying?

“A draw would have been a fair result. Stafford are fighting for their lives. We wanted to win the game. The last goal was just poor defensively. It’s a tough one to take”. 

Andy Welsh conceded after the game that his side did not manage the game well. Although he admitted a draw would have been the fair result, he conceded it’s a game his side should be winning.  

“The ref wasn’t dealing with it. You could tell he was getting assessed today.” 

A rather tongue in cheek comment from Welsh sums up his obvious frustration. He alludes to Kallan Murphy being booked for a foul on the goalkeeper which did not seem justified.  

“We need everybody behind us”. 

A rallying cry from the boss.  

“Jordi (Nsaka) is back. It is good to have him back. Josh (Ashman) missed out being involved but it’s good to have certain players to call upon”. 

Welsh expects Jordi Nsaka to be involved more at the weekend with the boss confirming he is back to full fitness. Welsh admitted Josh Ashman missed out purely because he felt the side ‘needed to switch things up a bit’, but there is no injury involved and Ashman could also be involved for Worksop’s visit.

Tickets and Travel for Atherton Collieries

Tickets can be purchased at the turnstiles on entry to Skuna Stadium with payment by cash or card.

Tickets are priced at:

  • Adults £10
  • Concessions (over 65) £7
  • U18s £4
  • U11s FREE

If you like to pick up a matchday programme then Atherton’s is available at just £2 each.

Coach travel is available with Guiseley AFC Supporters’ Club, just call Paul on 07518 445861 to secure a seat.

The coach leaves Nethermoor at 5:30pm priced at £20 for members and £25 for non-members.

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