Atherton Colls 4-0 Litherland Remyca
Reusch First Division Cup Semi-Final
Alder Street Stadium, Atherton. Saturday 28th March 2015
By Gary Langley
After a disappointing midweek league defeat at home to Eccleshall, Litherland Remyca navigated the East Lancs Roadworks to head to the in-form team of the season, Atherton Colls in the Semi Final of the Reusch First Division Cup. Manager, Phil Stafford made a number of changes on and off the park in both tactics and personnel. Louis Austin was dropped to the bench whilst Karl Siadankey took a starting place, there were also tactical changes as Remyca started with a more defensive tactical stance, somewhat understandable given Colls’ form this season as well as the sight of 50 goal striker Mark Battersby who had not featured against them in the recent league fixture.
The weather was as predictable as a box of frogs and prior to this game the Atherton ground staff and volunteers had worked wonders to tend to the pitch following a deluge of rain which had looked as if it would stop the game from taking place. As the players took to the park it was obvious that the kit man would have his hands full whatever the outcome of the game.
As the game commenced the monsoon returned seeing the play take a downward turn as both sides found it difficult with the ball not having a true lie at times and small lakes starting to form on the park, indeed there were several winces early on when an Atherton Colls attacking player slid fully 20 yards into a pitch boundary post. Play did continue and on 28 minutes Atherton pressed forwards into the box, the ball fell to Mark Battersby who flicked the ball up himself and promptly turned to strike home a superb goal against the blind-sided Sean Lake.
They could have doubled their advantage shortly after when after good work along the left hand side the ball was played forward to Matt Roland, the ball holding up on the sticky surface, he ran on to it and clean on goal, Remyca ‘keeper Sean Lake ran out but found himself in no-mans land, however the shot went wide. The game continued in a strange mix of heavy rain and sunshine but neither side were able to create any more real chances before the interval and when the referee blew for the interval there were serious concerns from the crowd about the feasibility of carrying on.
There was an element of surprise when the game re-started after the break but again, the efforts of the Alder Street ground staff were superb, the pitch looked boggy but playable. As the game continued Litherland were now kicking down the slope and with the wind behind them but they just could not work this to their advantage.
Shortly after the hour Remyca’s cup dream were sunk in the mud in a chronic four minute spell of poor defending from the visitors and attacking prowess from the home side. On 61 minutes Colls pressed forwards and the midfielders cut through the back-line and played the ball inside to Mark Battersby who turned and hit a low shot across the goal giving Sean Lake no chance whatsoever to make it 2-0. Almost straight from the kick off Litherland lost possession and Atherton made another dart forwards, Dean Siadankey won the ball back but Remyca have had a habit of using the keeper as an extra defender for a while now and the ball got played back to Sean Lake which on a pitch that was worsening by the minute the ball slowed down, Lake managed to get a kick away bu the ball bounced off the rapidly approaching Brad Cooke and the ball bounced straight into the net to scenes of rapture from the home support.
Litherland’s heads had dropped at this point and thoughts may have turned towards doing a rain dance in the hope of getting the fixture abandoned, however Colls were not finished, on 64 minutes they got their fourth goal when they worked tha ball along the right hand side, a cross went in at a perfect height for Matty Boland to hit a decent volley past Sean Lake and make it 0-4.
At this point there was no way back for Litherland and there was clear frustration amongst the visiting side and frustration as to the state of the park but the game continued apace with the away sides chances limited to a couple of set-pieces which amounted to little.
The referee called time and the home side were clearly delighted to have reached another final and on the day they were worthy winners, there is no point in going on about the weather or the state of the pitch as both sides had to play in the same conditions. For Remyca, lots to learn but in their first season to reach a cup semi-final and have good form in the league there are lots to take heart from. Litherland have a handful of games left in their season and they can go into those with their heads held high despite a difficult fortnight for them that has seen the play-offs slip out of their reach and knocked out of a cup.
Danny Taberner, Jake Kenny, Keith Wedge, Kristian Holt, Gareth Carson, Matty Grimshaw, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke, Mark Battersby, Matt Roland, Mark Truffas. Subs; Josh Messer, Jim Brooks, Robert Swanton, Jordan Cover, Gareth Pect.
Sean Lake, Stephen King, Callum Webb, Chris Lowe, Dean Siadanky, Karl Siadanky, Connor Murphy, John Hastings, Colin McDonald, Danny Duffy, Jamie Colbourn. Subs; Jamie Simms, Louis Austin, Lewis Jones, David Flynn, Darren Carr.