Saturday 24th August 1996
|Congleton Town v LR||HT 2 - 0||FT 4 - 1|
Congleton were always the better side in
this opening match of the season. Matty Brooks returned from his coaching job in
America in time for the game, Gavin McDonald returned to the Atherton side and
three players made their debut, Dave Channon signed from Radcliffe Borough, Paul
Griffin ex-Leigh RMI and Simon O’Neil from Stoneclough. Mark Stewart was
missing from the side as he was still playing cricket for Greenmount. Defender
Chris Adams opened the scoring for Congleton in the 15th minute when his corner
was deflected into the net by a defender and ten minutes later Darren Washington
knocked a loose ball in following a goalmouth scramble.
Gavin MacDonald pulled a goal back for Atherton on the hour, sliding the ball under the Congleton keeper, but ten minutes later Adams collected a Graham Harrison cross 30 yards out and hit a tremendous strike into the back of the net. On 75 minutes Richie Livingstone lobbed the ball over Andy Hills in the Atherton goal and into the net to seal the points.
Manager Dave Morris said “They were worth their win but not by a 4-1 margin. We made errors and got punished, whereas they played well and scored some good goals”.
Monday 26th August 1996
|LR v Leigh RMI||HT 0 - 0||FT 0 - 2|
Leigh had begun this season with an
almost completely new squad and although they had performed very well
pre-season, they had started their League campaign with a 3-1 home defeat by
Droylsden. They had by far the better of this game. Three good saves from Andy
Hills denied Keith Evans twice, one brilliant tip over when Evans shot took a
last second deflection off defender Steve Iley, and Tom McKenna from scoring. At
the other end Atherton's only serious chance fell to Lee Cryer, but he blasted
his shot wide.
The second half was the same story, the inevitable goals came in the 50th and 54th minute from Keith Evans. The first came after Hills blocked an initial strike from Tony Edwards, but Evans was first to the loose ball to blast it into the roof of the net and the second when Evans dispossessed Paul Burrows before racing into the area and firing home. Once again, Atherton had Andy Hills to thank for the scoreline not being higher.
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Dave Channon, Kenny Quigg, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Paul Griffin, Gavin MacDonald, Lee Cryer, Matty Brooks Subs Simon O’Brien, Neil Wright, Chris Smith
Saturday 31st August 1996
|Liversedge v LR||HT 0 - 0||FT 0 - 0|
Laburnums went into this FA Cup
Preliminary Round game with little confidence and were happy with the result.
Mark Stewart was absent because of his cricketing commitments. The pitch had an
usual slope from side to side which made things harder, but the management were
happy with the result.
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Dave Channon, Kenny Quigg, Mick Southern, Paul Kirwen, Paul Burrows, Neil Wright, Gavin MacDonald, Lee Cryer, Matty Brooks Subs Chris Smith, Gary Cowburn, Simon O’Brien
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