There are plenty of things you can do on a sunny bank holiday Monday. You can wash the car, mow the grass, take the kids the park, watch Seaside Special on ITV if its still 1987 and today you could pay a little under twenty quid and treat the whole family to a cracking day out at the football. For the 551 souls that chose the latter option (another new record), they certainly won't regret their decision.
After Saturday's disappointing last minute draw against Blackpool, Simon had a number of injury concerns ahead of the match. Chiefly was the absence of goalkeeper and hero of the weekend, Ste Longrigg nursing an ankle injury he picked up during the game. In his place was new signing Thomas Bradley making his debut. Also out was Aaron Rey who had to come off just minutes into his debut on Saturday with a knee problem, hopefully it won't be too long before we see him again.
Thankfully for Simon, available again was Chris Lester who lined up outside his usual position at right midfield, and it was also a bonus to have Danny Dalton and Allen Weston return uninjured from a weekend earning extra cash giving kids piggyback rides on Blackpool Beach (only kidding fellas).
So the starting lineup looked like this;
2.Daniels, 5.Dalton, 6.Weston, 3.Camozzi
7.Lester, 4.Blayney, 8.Dykes(c), 10.B Williams
City started off defending the Dodge Kop, and it took just 4 minutes for them to create their first chance. A great forward ball by Weso saw Webb fouled outside the area. Bradley Williams had a go from the free kick but it was to be a comfortable save for the soon to be suffering from a bad back, Atherton keeper. A minute later, the Purps forced the first corner of the game and when Woods' head connected with Blayney's perfect cross, it was only a last gasp boot on the line that prevented COLs going into an early lead. By the 13th minute City had forced their fourth corner of the game and the pattern of one way traffic that was to be for much of the match had been established, they just needed a goal to get things going.
One of the problems of selling programmes on the gate and also being the matchday reporter is that you sometimes miss early goals, so I had to catch up with scorer Chris Lester after the match to take me through his 19th minute opener. He received a short corner from Blayney before doing a Cruyff turn on the edge of the box to send the defender the wrong way, he then galloped into the box, beating four other defenders before facing just the keeper to beat. He dipped his shoulder, turned his back to goal, before flicking the ball up and powering an overhead sho........sod off Chris I'll ask someone else......apparently it was dead good anyway.
Just five minutes later and City were 2-0 up, this time Bradley Williams, whose marker will be having 6ft 2ins nightmares tonight, swung in a low cross that Daley Woods finished in the sort of fashion we are coming to expect from him now. The big striker scored his second hat trick of the season today and put in another outstanding performance. But for me the biggest smile of the day was in the hospitality room after the match when a father brought his two young kids in who wanted to have their picture taken with their hero. This is what we wanted to create when we started this club. Heroes and role models for the kids, but ones they could not only watch live on a matchday, but touch and feel and speak to as well. Daley and Weso are early crowd favourites, but it won’t be long before the rest will be handing out autographs after the match.
The rest of the half was simply wave upon wave of Purple attack. Atherton just couldn't get out of their own half, and even when a hoof upfield gave them brief respite, Dalton, Daniels and Weston had time to pick the ball out of the air and calmly feed it forward to start another attack. The only thing City were guilty of at this point was not scoring more goals, as Webb, Woods and Williams all missed good opportunities to increase the lead.
Perhaps it was boredom that told Weso to head forward from the back as City took another corner on 42 minutes. Or perhaps he was trying to impress his sponsors who were in attendance from St Joseph's Hospice to see the game, but whatever it was it worked. The ball worked its way out to the big centre half and his low guided missile flew through a crowded penalty area and under the keeper to make it three.
There was just time for a chant of WESO, WESO, before Woods stepped in to restore supremacy for the strikers by notching City's 4th on 44 minutes. The half time whistle was greeted with appreciative cheers from the Purple Partisans in the shed end and sighs of relief from the shell shocked Atherton players.
If the visitors thought that with the game effectively won inside the first 45 they were going to get some respite in the second half they were going to be disappointed.
48 minutes shot wide by Williams, 49 minutes shot wide by Webb, 50 shot wide by Woods, 51 shot by Lester saved by the keeper.....at this point it was a toss up between who had the busiest hands in the ground, the opposition keeper or Gary Johansen typing in the match updates on the app.
55 minutes another shot wide by Woods, two minutes later a corner for COLFC, you had to feel sorry for Thomas Bradley in the City goal who far from having a chance to impress was sitting in a deck chair, reading the programme (cracking value for money at just £2 on the gate folks ;) ).
Dykes and Blayney in midfield aren't your typical non-league grocks in the middle of the park. But what they lack in stature they more than make up for in energy and technique. The skipper probably had his best game in a purple shirt today, pressing the opposition all over the field, and winning tackles with power and precision. Blayney's range of passing is a major asset to Burton's team, his instinct to know when to lay it short or when to switch it out to the flanks makes it difficult for the opposition to close down the options available.
We'd now had almost fifteen minutes of the second half and no more goals, but before the Partisans could get going with a chant of 'sack the board' it was five. Weso was now fighting with Woods for the match ball after powering another shot low into the net.....perhaps those rumours about Superman being tucked into bed wearing his Weso pyjamas are true after all ?
Three minutes later and Woods cemented his and city's second hat trick of this fledgling season, with the best of all his goals. Lester drove forward, slipped the ball to Woods in a wide position who screwed his shot across the goal and into the far corner. That was to be the last action for Woods as he was replaced by Abelwhite a couple of mins later.
Then a huge shock to the faithful, Atherton had a free kick outside the box.....over the bar, panic over. Did that serve as a lesson to City to shut up shop and take what they already had ? Of course not.
On 74 minutes came the goal of the game. Webb had done everything to assist his teammates get on the scoresheet all day, this time decided it was his turn to grab the limelight. Camozzi had been getting forward a lot in this half and he was finding acres of space to gallop into down the middle. It was on one of these gallops that he laid the ball into the feet of Webb who had time and space to measure a curled lob over the keeper and into the corner of the net from 20 yards.....7-0 and its now time for the vidiprinter to spell out the scoreline 7(SEVEN)-0 just in case anyone thinks there has been a typing error at World of Sport HQ.
With 15 minutes to go and the game well and truly over as a contest Simon sent on Chojnicki for Daniels and Leon Williams for Webb. Just a minute later, the same curse that has struck twice in matches so far, seemed to have struck again with all three subs made and a player down injured. This time it was Leon Williams, who fell awkwardly after a tackle and emerged clutching an injury to his wrist. The Physio's official verdict was 'I felt something a bit wobbly' but with his teammates seemingly on Superhero infused Gatorade, Leon wasn't going to let a mere suspected wrist fracture let the side down. So it was on with the blue bandage and back out into the fray and on 85 minutes he was on hand to exchange passes down the right flank with Lester who powered on into the box and shot into the corner to make it eight.
There was still time for the Partisans to indulge in a spot of 'olay-ing' every COLFC pass, and then feeling sorry enough for the visitors to olay when they strung four or five passes together too, before eventually the ref blew for full time.
Our financial director Peter Furmedge celebrated his 50th birthday today and I think he can't have had many better than this. An eight goal victory, his team back to the top of the league and 551 thoroughly entertained fans heading for home vowing to be back again soon. Atherton LR endured a horrific day, but in all fairness to them it would've been easy to get frustrated and throw in a few nasty tackles or sly digs as the game wore on. A credit to them and their management team that they didn't and the very best of luck to them for the rest of the season (till we meet at Crilly Park of course).
You could say the standard of the opposition contributed to the size of victory, but COLs have been threatening to put in a performance like this since day one. It was a perfect storm on a day when chances were still spurned, but enough of them went in to run up a high score too. Inevitably, and its no disrespect to Atherton that there will come tougher challenges than this, but as the old saying goes, you can only beat what has been put in front of you, and so far City are doing everything that has been asked of them.......onwards to Daisy Hill.
The club were established as an under-14 team by Joe Riley in 1956, and were originally named Laburnum Rovers, named after Laburnum Playing Fields where they first played. They joined the Briarcroft Junior League in December that year despite the season already having started, as there was an odd number of teams due to other clubs dropping out; their first competitive fixture was a league cup game against Marsh Players A, which they lost 10–0.
As the players exceeded the league's age limit, the club applied to join the Farnworth under-17s League. However it folded before the season started, and club applied to join the Leigh & District League instead, a full age competition. In 1961 they joined the Bolton Combination. They won the Division Two and the Division Two Trophy in 1965–66, and after moving into a new ground in the summer of 1966, were promoted to Division One for the 1966–67 season.
In 1980 the club joined Division Two of the Cheshire County League, but had to change their name as league rules required the name of the town to be included; as a result they became Atherton Laburnum Rovers. Two seasons later the league merged with the Lancashire Combination to form the North West Counties League, with Atherton placed in Division Two. In the 1984–85 season they won the Bolton Hospital Cup, beating Scotts Park United 3–1 in the final.
Despite finishing second-from-bottom of Division Two in 1986–87 the club were promoted to Division One as part of league reorganisation and due to the quality of the facilities at Crilly Park. In 1992–93 the club won the Division One title, and after retaining it the following season, were promoted to Division One of the Northern Premier League.
The 1993–94 season also saw them reach the semi-finals of the FA Vase, in which they lost 2–1 to Diss Town in a replay at VS Rugby after the two legs finished 3–3 on aggregate; the quarter final match against Aldershot saw the setting of the club's record attendance of 1,856.
The club spent three seasons in the Northern Premier League, before finishing bottom of the division in 1996–97, resulting in relegation back to Division One of the North West Counties League. In 1998–99 they won the Goldline Trophy, beating Atherton Town 3–0 in the final Hilton Park in Leigh. In 1999–2000 the club were relegated again, this time to Division Two, after finishing bottom of Division One.
However, a third-place finish in Division Two the following season saw them promoted back to Division One at the first attempt. They also won the Bolton Hospital Cup for a second time, beating Ramsbottom United 2–1 in the final.
The 2003–04 season the club win two trophies; the Goldline Trophy was won when Blackrod Town were beaten 4–1 at the Reebok Stadium, whilst the Bolton Hospital Cup was won with a 3–1 win over Eagley at the same venue. They remained in the division (which was renamed the Premier Division in 2008) until finishing bottom of the table in 2011–12, after which they were relegated to Division One.