ATHERTON Collieries' second home match of the year ended in a 5-2 defeat to old foes Clitheroe.

The Blues are a side who have often caused trouble for Colls, most recently inflicting one of their rare defeats during the 2014/15 season, before beating the Colls through an injury-time winner in this season’s earlier fixture. Unfortunately, even the most hardcore Black and Whites struggle to recall a victory in this particular match-up.

Going into the match, there was a sense of renewed optimism around Alder Street, following a fine effort by a large party of volunteers to ensure the game went ahead.

On the field, there were positives to take from recent defeats against Trafford and an up-and-coming Ossett Albion side.

Colls started the game on a steady footing and on the half-hour mark led through a fantastic strike by Chris Lynch. After a scramble in the Clitheroe penalty area the half-cleared ball rolled perfectly into the p[ath of the experienced full-back. Striking the ball first time, from closer to the halfway line than the 18-yard box, Lynch’s drilled effort found a clean path through the crowded penalty area, beyond the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner of the net.

This much-needed spark was quickly extinguished, though, as the Blues got back on terms within three minutes.

Alex Newby, in his first major contribution of a stand-out performance, smartly played Daniel Byrnes in behind the Colls defence. Former Colls striker George West ran forward in support, and he turned Byrne’s low cross past Greg Hartley for Clitheroe’s equaliser.

Colls almost regained the lead shortly before half time but Iain Howard's volley from the penalty spot was sent into the hands of Clitheroe stopper Chris Thompson for a comfortable save.

The first goal of a tough second half came 10 minutes after the restart, with West scoring his second for the day. On his fifth appearance of the season at the Kensite Stadium – having made four Colls appearances before moving to Clitheroe – West was in the perfect position to curl in from the edge of the box following a mis-hit clearance.

New signing Luke Giverin has been staking his claim to dead balls since Mark Truffas' departure and, after coming close for Colls against Trafford, Giverin again came incredibly near to converting a free kick, the ball crashing against the foot of the right-hand post.

Clitheroe's third goal came through Newby, who latched on to Jacob Gregory's ball over the defence and half-volleying the ball over the onrushing Hartley.

Mike Clegg's side still had some fight remaining and the introduction of Darrhyl Mason 20 minutes from time saw them pull a goal back.

Ben Hardcastle played Howard through on the left-hand side and his cross saw Mason able to divert it at full stretch into the back of the net.

The decisive goal came minutes later, though. A tangle of legs in the penalty area saw Kurt Willoughby win a penalty for the visitors, he soon converted, to re-establish the Blues’ two-goal advantage just as it looked like Colls would be pressing for an equaliser.

Clitheroe scored a fifth in the game's final moments, Willoughby darting through the defence, only to scuff his effort. Handily for Clitheroe, it fell kindly for Newby who controlled the ball and poked in from six yards to complete another frustrating day at the Kensite Stadium.

This Saturday Colls hit the road for their first visit to bottom side Goole AFC, who are nine points adrift at the foot of the North division, in a vital game for both sides' chances of avoiding the drop.

In the Hallmark Security League First Division Atherton LR ended a four-game losing streak with victory at Carlisle City in interim manager David Potter's last game in charge.

Potter, who has steered the ship since Shaun Lynch's departure, oversaw a 1-0 victory, courtesy of David Moore's goal. He headed in Gary Grier's ball in midway through the first half. The hosts' chances of staging a fightback were scuppered by two dismissals as they finished the match with nine men, Aaron Bradbury and substitute Thomas Lucock the men sent off.

LR yesterday named Lynch's successor as manager, former Colls assistant manager Warren Jones.

Meanwhile, Daisy Hill were defeated 3-2 at promotion-chasing AFC Blackpool.

Michael Gervin struck twice for the Daisies but defeat leaves them second-bottom in the table.