Saturday 2nd November 1996
|Farsley Celtic v LR||HT 0 - 0||FT 0 - 2|
In a strong wind Atherton had to defend well in
the early stages of the game. They took the lead in the 69th minute through Lee
Cryer and in the last minute of the game, substitute Dominic Hoyle scored the
second in his debut.
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Simon O’Brien, Ken Quigg, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Steve Gavin, Lee Cryer, Gavin MacDonald, Paul Griffin Subs Neil Wright, Gary Cowburn, Dominic Hoyle
Tuesday 5th November 1996
|LR v Radcliffe Borough||HT 0 - 1||FT 0 - 1|
Atrocious playing conditions and the distraction
of fireworks going off all around the ground didn’t stop the two teams putting
on an excellent display of football. Matty Brooks returned to the Atherton side
after serving his ban for the sending off against Bamber Bridge in the FA Cup.
The only goal came after 17 minutes when a right sided corner was missed by Andy
Hills and Peter McRae headed home. There were plenty of good moves, but solid
defending, superb keeping and the woodwork meant there were no more goals. Both
Lee Cryer and Mark Stewart hit the post for LR and visiting keeper Anthony
Johnson pulled off an outstanding save to tip a powerful Paul Griffin strike
onto the post. At the other end Ian Lunt almost grabbed a second for Radcliffe.
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Simon O’Brien, Neil Wright, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Steve Gavin, Lee Cryer, Dominic Hoyle, Paul Griffin Subs Gary Cowburn, Dave Channon, Matty Brooks
Saturday 9th November 1996
|LR v Warrington Town||HT 2 - 0||FT 3 - 1|
Warrington's management at this time would make
familiar reading to Atherton supporters. Alan Lord and Dave Entwistle were
in charge. Laburnums had the better of the first half, but
missed a number of chances. They opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Mark
Stewart's cross found Lee Cryer on the edge of the area and he belted the ball
into the net. In the 30th minute Paul Griffin was brought down in the area and
Mark Stewart scored from the spot. Ten minutes later Stewart himself was brought
down in the area, but the referee refused Laburnums pleas for a second penalty.
Even more amazingly, a few minutes later Gavin McDonald was through with only
the keeper to beat. The keeper came out quite obviously with no intention of
going for the ball and flattened the Laburnums man. After lengthy treatment on
the pitch McDonald had to be taken off and played no further part. The referees
incredible decision was that a yellow card was sufficient.
Seven minutes into the second half Warrington scored. A corner wasn't cleared properly and Russell Sang scrambled the ball home from close range. In the 75th minute Laburnums scored their final goal of the day when Mark Stewart's cross was headed goalwards by Lee Cryer before being brilliantly pushed onto the bar by the keeper. However, Cryer volleyed in the rebound.
LR - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Simon O’Brien, Ken Quigg, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Matty Brooks, Lee Cryer, Gavin McDonald, Paul Griffin Subs Dominic Hoyle, Neil Wright, Gary Cowburn
Warrington - Kevin Gray, Liam Boden, McCombe, Russell Sang, Steve Davies, K Sutcliffe, Tony Timmons, Loughlin, Paul Hession, Peter Oldbury, Chris Gardner Subs Paul Kirkham, Craig Fleury, Steve Mallinson
Saturday 16th November 1996
|Droylsden v LR||HT 1 - 0||FT 3 - 1|
This was Atherton’s first match after Chairman
Derek Halliwell’s announcement that players allowances and expenses were to be
cut by 50%. However, all the players rallied round and stuck with the club.
Droylsden’s new manager Dalton Steele gave debuts to five of the players he’d
brought with him from Flixton. LR started slowly and conceded an 18th minute goal with a shot
by Steve Shaughnessey from the edge of the area which picked up a slight deflection. In the second
half Droylsden went 3-0 up through a 60th minute Mike Beirne strike and a second
for Shaughnessey on 64 minutes. Lee Cryer
pulled a late goal back for LR. Atherton had asked about the match being
abandoned at half time because in poor conditions the floodlights were switched
on, but two didn’t come on, leaving a quarter of the pitch in the dark - the end
LR were attacking in the second half, but the referee felt the game could
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Simon O’Brien, Neil Wright, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Matty Brooks, Lee Cryer, Steve Gavin, Paul Griffin Subs Gary Cowburn, Andy Noone
Wednesday 20th November 1996
|LR v Daisy Hill||HT 0 - 0||FT 1 - 0|
Atherton LR took on near neighbours Daisy Hill in
the first round of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy. LR had the better of the
game but met a determined, battling defence. It was a bit of a scrappy game and
the attendance of just 30 was disappointing. Daisy Hill started the game with
great energy and Shaun Lilley saw his 8th minute strike come back off the
Atherton post. LR gradually took control of the game but couldn’t break down a
determined Daisy Hill defence. The game was won in the 85th minute when Paul
Griffin hit a 30 yard strike that flew into the top corner. Jason Jones almost
equalised in the final minute, but his header went just wide of the post. After
this match Steve Gavin left the club to move to NWCL Division Two side Colne,
managed by ex-Leigh RMI reserves boss Denzil Hart.
Team - Andy Hills, Gary Cowburn, Simon O’Brien, Ken Quigg, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Neil Wright, Lee Cryer, Andy Noone, Paul Griffin Subs Matty Brooks, Damien Kelly, Steve Gavin
Saturday 23rd November 1996
|LR v Harrogate Town||HT 0 - 0||FT 1 - 2|
A lot of hard work went into making the pitch
playable for this game after a period of bad weather, but the pitch was still heavy and often moves broke down
with the ball sticking in the mud in midfield. Keeper Andy Hills was unavailable
for this game because of work commitments so the experienced Ian Senior had been
signed from Witton Albion .The first half was goalless, Dominic Hoyle coming
close a couple of times for Atherton and Harrogate's Jim Lagan missing a good
opportunity with LR's keeper, Senior, stranded. However, Atherton struggled to
deal with the sticky conditions, still trying to play their usual passing game
and time after time moves broke down in the muddy midfield.
In the second half Atherton came out in determined form: both Paul Griffin and Ken Quigg brought good saves out of Wayne Baker in the Harrogate goal and Dominic Hoyle hit first the bar and then the post with shots. Harrogate had been using the long ball tactic which the Laburnums defence was struggling to deal with. One of these long balls resulted in a corner from which Harrogate scored in the 70th minute. Ian Hart heading in after he was left completely unmarked. Within five minutes Harrogate had scored again. LR won a free kick on the edge of Harrogate's area but lost possession. The ball was belted upfield and instead of launching it straight back the Laburnums defence tried to play their way out of trouble. They lost the ball and Ian Hart scored an easy goal. With five minutes remaining Gary Cowburn scored a consolation goal for Atherton, his shot being deflected into the net, but it was too late to save the game.
LR - Ian Senior, Damien Kelly, Simon O’Brien. Ken Quigg, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Neil Wright, Lee Cryer, Dominic Hoyle, Paul Griffin Subs Gary Cowburn, Chris Smith, Andy Noone
Harrogate - Wayne Baker, Gary Lormor, Mark
Watkinson, Jim Lagan, Sean Pallant, Eammon Elliott, Paul Cygan, Lee Harper,
Richard Hill, Ian Hart, Matt Flannaghan Subs Richard Ward, Colin Darville,
Tuesday 26th November 1996
|Warrington Town v LR||HT 0 - 3||FT 2 - 3|
Atherton attacked from the start and Lee Cryer
and Dominic Hoyle both saw efforts come back off the woodwork and the home
keeper made some good saves. However, in the 30th minute LR took the lead when
Lee Cryer’s header came back off the bar. The Atherton man was first to react to
the rebound and his shot was deflected over the line by a defender. Two minutes
later Cryer hit home from close range and in the 41st minute he completed his
second hat-trick of the season when he hit home from a tight angle after being
put through one on one with the keeper. A superb first half performance.
Warrington pulled two back in the second half through Simpson 56th and Tony Timmons 62nd minutes and played most of the second period with 10 men after a player was sent off for a second bookable offence.
No one at the club could have realised that they had just watched Atherton LR's last League win of the season.
Team - Ian Senior, Gary Cowburn, Simon O’Brien, Ken Quigg, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Dominic Hoyle, Lee Cryer, Matty Brooks, Paul Griffin Subs Andy Noone, Elliott Simms, Ricky Wilson
Saturday 30th November 1996
|Leigh RMI v LR||HT 1 - 0||FT 1 - 0|
Atherton lost this game despite being the better
side, simply because Leigh made their possession count and Atherton failed to do
so. Laburnums played well and had the better of the game but failed to create
any clear cut scoring chances and the strikers were left frustrated at the lack
of support from midfield. Leigh always looked to be struggling but did create
some scoring opportunities and took one of them, Dave Ridings scoring the only
goal of the match in the 31st minute, collecting a Graham Hill pass before
turning a defender and hitting home. Micky Wallace hit the post for Leigh and
Chris Shaw squandered a great chance. Even when Leigh’s Chris Bermingham was
sent off in the 68th minute for a bad tackle on Mick Southern, Atherton couldn't
take advantage. They played well, but rarely troubled the home sides goal. After
the match Leigh's assistant manager Kevin Booth commented that if they could
play like that and still take the three points, they must stand a chance of
winning something this season.
Team - Andy Hills, Gary Cowburn, Simon O’Brien, Ken Quigg, Chris Smith, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Dominic Hoyle, Lee Cryer, Matty Brooks, Paul Griffin Subs Mick Southern, Elliott Simms, Andy Noone
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