ATHERTON Collieries fell to a 3-1 defeat at high-flying South Shields with a scoreline that was somewhat harsh on the hard-working visitors.

A Glenn Matthews goal briefly drew Colls level after they had fallen behind to Robert Briggs’ effort late in the first half.

But Briggs’ second and a late strike from substitute Jamie Holmes handed the hosts all three points in front of a crowd of almost 1,800.

The hosts are backed by a home support virtually unprecedented at Evo-Stik North level – even bearing in mind the crowds the likes of Scarborough Athletic and FC United of Manchester had commanded.

As could be expected they have a particularly formidable home record and they are joint-leaders in the division, alongside Bamber Bridge, who have played three games more.

Colls travelled north for their longest league trip of the season so far, on the back of three victories in the FA Trophy, league and Integro Cup.

They started brightly with Ben Hardcastle forcing a smart save from home goalkeeper Liam Connell and largely held their own until the hosts went in front with a freak goal two minutes before the break.

It was open to debate as to whether it was a shot or a cross, but the result was South Shields going a goal up, Colls keeper Adam Reid finally being beaten with Briggs’ attempt, which found the back of the net via a touch off the crossbar.

Colls frontman Jordan Cover was withdrawn at half time and his replacement Matthews made an almost immediate impact, drawing his side level within two minutes of the restart.

From 20 yards out he let fly, driving his effort inside Connell’s bottom right-hand corner.

The visitors were level for only 12 minutes, however, as Briggs grabbed his second goal just before the hour mark, curling a free kick into the top corner for his fourth goal in two games.

Four minutes later the hosts looked set to extend their lead when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Gavin Cogdon, but Colls goalkeeper Reid stepped up to brilliantly save Carl Finnigan’s spot kick.

That stop proved to be in vain, though, as the hosts sealed their victory deep in added time when Jamie Holmes swept home after Briggs’ corner had only been half-cleared.

On Saturday, Michael Clegg’s men host Marine in the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy. Kick off at the Kensite Stadium is 3pm.

n IN the Hallmark Security League First Division Daisy Hill climbed off the bottom of the table with a point from their game at home to Oswestry Town.

The visitors led at the break but Ellis Worrall struck three minutes from time to rescue a point for Daisy, who climb above Nelson after they lost 6-0 at home to Litherland REMYCA.

Atherton LR were 2-1 winners at home to Abbey Hulton United, Mitchell Robertson scoring their winner after Ashley Woodhead’s first-half strike had been cancelled out before the break.

Rovers travel to Litherland this Saturday while Daisy are also on the road, with a tough trip to table toppers Silsden.