Tuesday 1st October 1996
|Curzon Ashton v LR||HT 2 - 2||FT 3 - 2|
This League Cup match was a very entertaining
game of football, enjoyed by fans of both sides. Lee Cryer was through but shot
wide in the first minute. Malc O’Connor scored for Curzon after just three
minutes but Lee Cryer levelled in the 9th after the keeper fumbled a Mark
Stewart free kick. O’Connor got his second in the 19th minute but Steve Gavin
scored in the 32nd minute after Cryer headed on a cross in the area to bring
Atherton level again. The winning goal came in the 54th minute through Chris
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Mick Southern, Paul Kirwen, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Matty Brooks, Lee Cryer, Steve Gavin, Neil Wright Subs Gavin MacDonald, Elliot Simms, Simon O’Brien
Curzon Ashton - Karl Williams, Neil
Williams, Geoff Dale, Ian Street, John Gould, Andrew Taylor, Francis Hyland,
Mike Nelson, Gary Washington, Malcolm O'Connor, Chris Pickering Subs
Simon Keithley, Chris Smith
Saturday 5th October 1996
|Stocksbridge PS v LR||HT 0 - 0||FT 0 - 1|
Atherton's fourth straight League win was
Stockbridge's first League defeat of the season. LR dominated the start of the
game, pressuring the home defence and forcing a number of corners, but couldn't
make any clear cut shooting opportunities. At the back Atherton were tight,
having conceded five goals in the previous two games. As the half wore on the
home side came into the game and forced Andy Hills to make a couple of good
saves to keep the scores level at half time.
The second half was the same story, with Atherton dominating the opening stages and Stocksbridge finishing the stronger. The crucial goal came in the 65th minute. A good move down the right wing ended with Steve Gavin crossing the ball into the area and Mark Stewart volleyed the ball into the net. LR continued to dominate but couldn't turn their possession into goals. As half wore on Stocksbridge began to take over and by the end of the game Atherton were frantically hanging on to their lead.
LR - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Mick Southern, Neil Wright, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Matty Brooks, Lee Cryer, Steve Gavin, Paul Griffin Subs Tony Pemberton, Gavin MacDonald, Paul Kirwen
Stocksbridge - Andrew Carney, Simon
Marples, Brad Elam, Carl Calvert, Paul Atkinson, Craig Chadburn, Steve Shutt,
Kevin Ronan, Richard Holmshaw, Gary Hurlstone, Trevor Jones Subs -
John Tesh, Andy Tibenham, Mick Horne
Tuesday 8th October 1996
|LR v Great Harwood Town||HT 0 - 1||FT 0 - 1|
Atherton's unbeaten run came to an end in
frustrating style. It was just one of "those" games. Atherton dominated the
match, especially in the second half and twice hit the woodwork, but couldn’t
find the vital touch to round off some dominant outfield play. Phil Brown scored
the only goal for Great Harwood after slack defensive work following a 19th
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Mick Southern, Neil Wright, Paul Kirwen, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Steve Gavin, Simon O’Brien Subs Steve Iley, Elliot Simms, Matty Brooks
Saturday 12th October 1996
|LR v Bamber Bridge||HT 0 - 0||FT 1 - 1|
This was Atherton's first, and so far only,
appearance in the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup. It was an entertaining
match but both sides made mistakes and there were lots of niggles between
players. Bamber Bridge came closest to opening the scoring in the 26th minute
when a free kick was conceded by Steve Iley on the edge of the area. Mark
Edwards curling free kick was brilliantly pushed away by keeper Andy Hills. Five
minutes later Paul Griffins volley was charged down at the other end. In the
34th minute Laburnums had Matty Brooks sent off. There had been a lot of pushing
and shoving between players and the referee sent him off for deliberately
elbowing Stuart Todhunter. Brooks had been chasing the ball with Todhunter who
had been pulling the shirt of the Atherton man to stop him getting to the ball.
The Atherton youngster had swung out to get the Bridge player off him, who then
provided a theatrical dive which fooled the referee. Still, taking any sort of
swipe at an opponent is bound to result in a sending off. Neither side could
gain the upper hand in the first half.
Laburnums took the lead five minutes into the second half. A long pass by Paul Burrows sent Mark Stewart away on the left wing. He skipped past a defender and crossed low and hard into the area. Lee Cryer's shot was under hit, but Steve Gavin was on hand to give the vital last touch. The visiting keeper, Joe Paladino, was then forced into a good save from another Steve Gavin shot. In the 60th minute Atherton were caught out. They won a corner which they messed up and Bamber Bridge belted the ball upfield deep into LR’s half. Mark Edwards collected the ball with his back to the goal but spun round and hit a powerful and impressive strike into the back of the net. Bamber Bridge then pressed for the winner and the Atherton defence was under a lot of pressure. Mark Stewart cleared two efforts off the line. LR relied on the counter-attack and came close when Lee Cryer made a brilliant run before rolling the ball along the goalline but no-one could get the vital touch to poke the ball home.
LR - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Mick Southern, Neil Wright, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Matty Brooks, Lee Cryer, Steve Gavin, Paul Griffin Subs Simon O’Brien, Paul Kirwen, Gavin MacDonald
Bamber Bridge - Joe Paladino, Darren
Brown, Stuart Phoenix, Mark Milligan, Wayne Maddock, Robert Ward, Stuart
Todhunter, David Eaves, Mark Edwards, Grant Leitch, Neil Spencer Subs
Paul Taylor, Dennis Hill, Ryo Takahashi
Tuesday 15th October 1996
|Bamber Bridge v LR||HT 1 - 0||FT 2 - 0|
Bamber Bridge moved into the final qualifying round of the FA Cup with goals from Neil Spencer (17 mins) and Mark Edwards (75 mins). A disappointing result for Atherton, because while Bamber Bridge were in the Premier Division they weren't having the best of seasons and were comprehensively beaten 4 - 0 by North West Counties League Newcastle Town in the next round. Incidentally, at the time of writing (May 2011) that was the last time a North West Counties League club has reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup.
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Mick Southern, Neil Wright, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Matty Brooks, Lee Cryer, Steve Gavin, Paul Griffin Subs Simon O'Brien, Paul Kirwen, Gavin McDonald
Saturday 19th October 1996
|LR v Moor Green||HT 1 - 0||FT 1 - 1|
Atherton should have comfortably moved into the
next round of the FA Trophy, but they were eventually punished for their failure
to take their many chances. Manager Dave Morris made three changes after the
Bamber Bridge defeat, Paul Griffin and Tony Pemberton were moved to midfield
while Gavin McDonald came in up front. Laburnums had a good start when they took
the lead after just two minutes. Paul Griffin turned and volleyed the ball into
the top corner of the net from just inside the area. Atherton piled on the
pressure, Tony Pemberton and Gavin McDonald forcing good saves from Moor Green's
keeper while another shot was cleared off the line. After half an hour Moor Green's Ricki Marshall was sent off for a second
bookable offence and Laburnums pressed to take advantage. Damien Kelly made a
great run down the right wing before cutting inside and firing in a perfect shot, but it was well
saved by the visiting keeper. Just before half time Mark Stewart also came close, but the visitors
keeper was on form.
In the second half Atherton sat back a bit and allowed Moor Green into the game. They won several corners and were looking more and more likely to score. At the other end substitute Matty Brooks shot just wide and Lee Cryer put a good cross from Mark Stewart wide of the post. In the last minute Gavin McDonald had a chance to win the match after a strong run from Brooks ended with a cross into the area, but with the goal at his mercy, McDonald swung wildly and his shot went over from close range. Four minutes into injury time Moor Green equalised. The ball was launched upfield catching the Laburnums defence out and Guy Russell collected the ball just outside the area and belted the ball in.
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Simon O’Brien, Neil Wright, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Gavin MacDonald, Paul Griffin Subs Mick Southern, Matty Brooks, Steve Gavin
Tuesday 22nd October 1996
|Moor Green v LR||HT 6 - 0||FT 6 - 1|
Atherton were made to well and truly pay for
missed chances on the Saturday. A dreadful first half performance by the
Laburnums team couldn’t be excused by three players unavailable from Saturday
and one late arrival. Four goals in a 12 minute period ended any chance Atherton had.
Michael Moore scored four goals for the home side in the 6th, 30th, 34th and 43rd minutes. Burgher
scored on 37 minutes and Mick Hayde in the 40th minute. But, that makes the half time score 6-0
The second half saw a vast improvement and the team playing as they can. Tony Pemberton scored LR’s goal just after the restart. It was Brooks last match before starting a three match suspension after his sending off against Bamber Bridge.
Team - Mark Ogden, Damien Kelly, Simon O’Brien, Neil Wright, Matty Brooks, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Gavin MacDonald, Paul Griffin Subs Steve Gavin, Paul Kirwen
Saturday 26th October 1996
|LR v Bradford Park Avenue||HT 0 - 1||FT 1 - 3|
Defensive mistakes cost Atherton this game.
Bradford brought plenty of supporters with them, seemingly outnumbering and
certainly out-shouting the home crowd. Overall, the first half was fairly even.
Atherton had most of the play without being able to break through a solid
defence, while the visitors relied more on the long ball tactic which the
Atherton defence dealt with, although not too confidently. Bradford took a 10th
minute lead through Milton Brown following a mistake by keeper Andy Hills when
he came out for a cross and missed it, allowing Brown to head home.
Three minutes into the second half Lee Cryer equalised, turning in a Mark Stewart cross. Atherton were fired up for a while and dominated the play but rarely looked like scoring, the front line were looking as unconvincing as they had the previous week. The nearest they came was when both Steve Gavin and Steve Iley hit high and wide. Things changed in the 65th minute when Nicky Hay put Bradford back in front from a poorly defended corner. That signalled a change in play. Bradford took control and had by far the better of the game and five minutes later Wayne Benn hit a great volley on the turn to make it 3-1. Atherton had keeper Andy Hills to thank for keeping the score down as he made a number of fine saves. The day was summed up for LR when Andy Noone hit the bar from a yard out.
Team - Andy Hills, Damien Kelly, Simon O’Brien, Ken Quigg, Steve Iley, Mark Stewart, Paul Burrows, Tony Pemberton, Lee Cryer, Steve Gavin, Paul Griffin Subs Mick Southern, Nick Wright, Andy Noone
Tuesday 29th October 1996
|Netherfield v LR||HT 1 - 1||FT 2 - 2|
Manager Dave Morris had spent a lot of the season
juggling three forwards - Lee Cryer, Steve Gavin and Gavin McDonald but with the
team having created numerous untaken chances in games so far, he decided to play
all three. It worked, except none of the goals in this game came from the three
front men! Gary Finlay opened the scoring for Netherfield in the 9th minute but Mark
Stewart levelled with a powerful strike in the 38th. Steve Iley turned in a Mark
Stewart corner in the second half, only to have it ruled out because the referee
was having a word with one of the home defenders while the corner was taken and
he made Atherton retake the corner. Netherfield had restored their lead in the
67th minute through Lee Parkinson, but in
the dying seconds Simon O’Brien earned a deserved draw.
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 Mick Southern, Neil Wright, Andy Noone
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