Wednesday 2nd April 1997
|LR v Stocksbridge PS||HT 0 - 0||FT 0 - 1|
LR played well enough, but without Ken Quigg (suspended) and both Steve Iley and Darren Royle (injured), they couldn’t take advantage of their good play. Stocksbridge scored three minutes from time through Gary Hurlstone
Team - Andy Hills, Mick Southern, Simon O’Brien, Gary Cowburn, Damien Kelly, Mark Stewart, Steve Hilton, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Danny Christie, Paul Griffin Subs Steve Saunders, Mark Henshaw, Neil Fairclough
Saturday 5th April 1997
|Eastwood Town v LR||HT 0 - 0||FT 0 - 0|
Atherton did everything but score in this game which they
pretty well dominated. They hit the post, hit the bar, had shots cleared off the
line and the home keeper made a couple of excellent saves. Towards the end of
the game they nearly paid for having so many people pushing forwards, but Andy
Hills made a great save from Chris Hoy
Team - Andy Hills, Paul Jones, Simon O’Brien, Steve Hilton, Gary Cowburn, Mark Stewart, Damien Kelly, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Danny Christie, Paul Griffin Subs Steve Saunders, Neil Moss, Martin Hayley
Tuesday 8th April 1997
|LR v Netherfield||HT 1 - 2||FT 1 - 4|
LR scorer Lee Cryer 42
Netherfield scorers Darren Emmett 12, Weston 19, Barnes 53, 84
Team - Andy Hills, Elliott Simms, Simon O’Brien, Paul Jones, Gary Cowburn, Mark Stewart, Steve Hilton, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Danny Christie, Paul Griffin Subs Mark Henshaw, Steve Saunders, Martin Hayley
Saturday 12th April 1997
|LR v Droylsden||HT 2 - 2||FT 3 - 3|
Four of Droylsden’s players, Kojo Taylor, Michael Halliday,
Dave Esdaille and Neil Hall, all decided they would make their own way to
this game rather than travel on the team coach. Unfortunately for them, they
went to Atherton Collieries ground which was deserted as Colls were playing away
at Chadderton. By the time they realised their mistake and got to Crilly Park it
was 2.45pm and too late for them to be in the starting line up. Micky Southern
opened the scoring for Atherton in the 22nd minute, his first of the season, but
six minutes later Droylsden equalised from a quickly taken free kick. In the
35th minute Droylsden took the lead after some brilliant work by Chris Gardner
left the defence in tatters and Chris Smith scored their second. Three minutes
before half time Lee Cryer’s header came off the post and Simon O'Brien was
there to give LR a deserved equaliser.
As the second half progressed Atherton began to look more ragged and went behind again in the 83rd minute when a shot from Craig Hall took a last second deflection off Mick Southern. The goal was awarded officially as an own goal, but that's a bit harsh. In the last minute of the game a Droylsden defender handled the ball and Atherton were awarded a penalty. The player needed treatment and a ridiculous confrontation took place between Droylsdens sub/physio Mark Molyneux and the referee, who later said he didn’t want to send Molyneux off because he was Droylsden’s physio. But as it was the last minute of the match, would it have mattered? Mark Stewart scored from the spot, but as the players left the pitch at the end of the game Droylsdens keeper Steve Roberts appeared to want to fight everyone in the ground and a number of scuffles broke out between supporters.
Team - Andy Hills, Mick Southern, Simon O’Brien, Steve Hilton, Gary Cowburn, Mark Stewart, Mark Henshaw, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Danny Christie, Paul Jones Subs Neil Moss, Steve Saunders, Mark Winwood
Saturday 19th April 1997
|LR v Lincoln United||HT 1 - 0||FT 2 - 2|
Manager Dave Morris was sent off after 15 minutes for comments
made to the referee. Atherton had a great start, Neil Moss scoring in the 27th
minute and Lincoln's keeper, Mark Welch, producing a stunning save in the 32nd
minute from a Lee Cryer shot.
In the 52nd minute Neil Moss made it 2 - 0 and Atherton were looking good for a win. However, in the 70th minute Darren Royle, who had been playing at the back for this game, was injured and had to leave the pitch. This meant a substitution and reshuffle and Lincoln took advantage to score two minutes later through Rick Henshaw and then in the 80th minute through Barry Barker.
Team - Andy Hills, Darren Royle, Simon O’Brien, Steve Hilton, Gary Cowburn, Mark Stewart, Mark Henshaw, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Danny Christie, Neil Moss Subs Paul Jones, Steve Saunders, Mark Winwood
Tuesday 22nd April 1997
|Workington v LR||HT 0 - 0||FT 1 - 1|
Despite picking up two well earned draws in their previous two games, this match was a "must win" for Atherton. With the bottom three due to be relegated, LR were bottom on 29 points and the only club they could catch up with outside the relegation zone, with three games remaining, were Workington who were on 38 points with a game in hand. LR's only hope was to win their remaining three games by a decent scoreline and hope Workington lost all four of their remaining matches. A somewhat unlikely combination of events. Despite the slenderest chance still remaining and as such the importance of the game, Atherton had no less that 11 first team players unavailable for this game - apparently through injuries, suspensions and work commitments, so a team containing a number of young reserve players took to the pitch. There was something of a record created when Workington's substitute Nigel Dustin came on in the 88th minute and 60 seconds later was sent off for handling on the line and denying Atherton the equaliser. From the resulting penalty Mark Stewart scored to equalise after a 70th minute Ian Milburn strike.
The result meant final confirmation that Atherton would finish
in a relegation position.
Team - Smith, Steve Saunders, Steve Hilton, Neil Moss, Simon Whittle, Mark Stewart, Mark Henshaw, Paul Griffin, Lee Cryer, Danny Christie, Mark Winwood Sub Neil Fairclough
Saturday 26th April 1997
|Bradford Park Avenue v LR||HT 2 - 0||FT 4 - 2|
Once again Atherton had a number of players missing - Mick
Southern, Ken Quigg, Damien Kelly, Tony Pemberton, Steve Iley, Gary Cowburn,
Mark Stewart and Lee Cryer. LR went behind to an own goal, Darren Royle heading
into his own net from a corner after 20 minutes. In the 38th minute it was 2-0
when Ricardo Gabbiadini headed home.
In the second half Atherton looked better and scored in the 70th minute when Neil Moss headed the ball in. As Rovers pushed forwards they left themselves exposed at the back and in the 80th minute Martin Regan made it 3-1. Three minutes later Paul Griffin rifled in an unstoppable 20 yard shot, but Atherton gave the fourth goal away. Almost straight from kick off LR won a goal kick. The ball was kicked out short to a defender who in turn tried a short square pass which was intercepted by Martin Regan to score
Team - Andy Hills, Steve Hilton, Darren Royle, Simon O’Brien, Lee Sculpher, Steve Saunders, Danny Christie, Mark Henshaw, Neil Moss, Mark Winwood, Paul Griffin Subs Paul Jones, Maddocks, Neil Fairclough
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