Atherton Laburnum Rovers 3

Steeton 1

STEETON travelled to north Manchester looking to build on recent good performances in Hallmark Security League Division One North.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as a young Atherton LR side put the Chevrons to the sword.

Injuries had forced Steeton manager Roy Mason to re-organise the defence, with a new centre-back pairing of Adam Platt and Alasdair Morgan starting together for the first time in a 4-4-2 line-up.

The relative inexperience of the pairing was evident early on, with a series of mistakes across the Steeton back line handing Atherton the initiative.

Steeton were exposed down the right on a couple of occasions before Freddie Stevens’s low cross led to the opening goal in the fifth minute.

Striker Connor Comber added the first of his three goals, latching onto the cross and firing low against the upright. He was first to react to the rebound and made no mistake with his second effort.

With Steeton on the back foot, the home side looked likely to double their advantage and had a goal ruled out with quarter of an hour gone.

Stevens again beat Tom Goodall at right back and delivered a fine cross for a simple tap-in by the striker, who was adjudged to have been offside.

The Chevrons’ defensive woes and lengthening injury list took another blow in the 19th minute when Platt went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. He was replaced at centre half by new recruit Dan Pickles.

Against the run of play Steeton grabbed an equaliser. With possibly the visitors best passing move of the game, Bailey Coates latched on to a through ball to open his account for the season with a clever chipped finish over the advancing home keeper.

Going in level at half-time offered hope for the second half, but the tone of the first half continued with the visitors largely flat-footed and lacking in energy or creativity. Were it not for Fletcher Paley’s heroics in goal, the game could have been over before the hour mark.

Atherton added a second in the 61st minute from a corner. An Atherton player rose highest in the box and his downward header was slammed home by Comber for his second.

Mason attempted to regain some control, bringing on Michael Armitage and Tim Hird and switching to the 3-5-2 formation that had worked so well in the first half at Garstang. Unfortunately, the tone had already been set and the substitutes were unable to make much impact on the game.

A miserable day for the Chevrons was compounded in extra time when Atherton sealed the win following another mistake. Tim Hird was dispossessed by Comber after receiving an unnecessary pass out from goal by Paley. The young striker capped a fine performance by rounding Paley to add his and Atherton’s third.

After the game Mason apologised to those who had made the journey to the Greater Manchester club. He said: “That simply wasn’t good enough today, and not up to the standards we’ve set at this club.

"Injuries to key players haven’t made things easy, but that’s no excuse for today.”

Steeton: Paley, Goodall, Ferguson, Morgan (Hird), Platt (Pickles), Rawcliffe (Armitage), Jeffrey, Coates, Clarkson, Richmond (c), Scott