ATHERTON Collieries slipped to fourth in the North West Counties League Division One on Saturday after a 1-0 home defeat to promotion rivals 1874 Northwich.

It was the first ever meeting between the two sides after 1874’s formation in 2012.

Mark Truffas returned from suspension, which had sidelined him since being sent off against Atherton LR on Boxing Day.

It was a match neither side deserved to lose with both putting on an entertaining show for a large crowd of 236, and it was the league’s top goalscorer Mike Brandon who headed in a Ryan Stewart cross from close range on 57 minutes.

The home side pressured and twice went close but 1874 held out for a crucial win which has put a huge dent in Colls’ promotion hopes.

The sides meet again a week on Saturday at Winsford United’s ground, which again looks like being a vital match to win.

Atherton LR and Daisy Hill had the weekend off. Rovers play Widnes Vikings at Crilly Park tonight (7.45pm kick off) and Daisy travel to Ashton Town a week on Saturday looking for their first win since September.