ATHERTON Collieries’ final pre-season friendly saw them play out a goalless draw with Workington on a wet and blustery afternoon at the Skuna on Saturday.

The Reds, relegated from the Northern Premier League and the previous week they had convincingly beaten fellow Premier Division newcomers Radcliffe FC 4-1 at Stainton Park so offered real test for Michael Clegg’s squad.

The Colls team had several changes to the team that had ran out 2-0 victors at Trafford last Tuesday night – the main talking point being the trialist goalkeeper.

Plans were then thrown slightly into disarray as Josh Peet hobbled off on 12 minutes to be replaced by Keiran Nolan.

Workington captain Scott Allison had the first shot on target of the game on 19 minutes, the trialist Colls stopper looking to have an assured pair of hands.

Visiting centre-back, Josh Calvert, would have been disappointed not to have tested the newcomer as his side-foot volley sailed over the bar on 26 minutes.

Workington left-back Liam Brockbank was causing Colls problems down their right as he performed his very best Gaz Peet impression, running with the ball at every opportunity.

It was Peet himself who had Colls’ best chance of the game on 31 minutes when he collected a 60-plus yard pass from Danny Lafferty to break through the Reds defence, only to see the outstretched toes of keeper Jim Atkinson deny him.

Oli Roberts, whose free kicks were providing Colls most consistent threat, also tested the keeper on 38 minutes from a set-piece.

The visitors’ best chance of the half came just before the break as a Robbie Hebson pass somehow found its way to Allison again, the Colls keeper down well to deny the birthday boy.

As conditions worsened in the second half, the pitch held up and both teams had chances to open the scoring.

Roberts was again the main protagonist for Colls, his snapshot on 53 minutes well tipped out by keeper for the second half Alex Mitchell.

He again caused problems for the Reds as his free kick was cleared by the replacement keeper rather unconventionally.

Roberts, sensing it may just be his day, tried an audacious chip from just inside the Workington half on 60 minutes, but fortunately for the backpedalling Mitchell, the shot drifted wide in the swirling wind.

Allison was again the main threat for the visitors, and Lafferty was called into action as his well -timed challenge averted any danger soon after.

Workington had their best chance of the game right at the end as marauding full-back Brockback overlapped and was able to get his shot away, the legs of Colls’ trialist keeper ensuring the scores stayed even as with that, the referee signed that everyone could retreat indoors to safety with the final whistle.

The presence of a trialist goalkeeper comes after the club announced Greg Hartley was to take up a full-time goalkeeping coach role at Oldham Athletic after previously coaching Oldham’s youth teams and being involved in the Latics’ pre-season camp in Morocco.

Colls manager Michael Clegg told the club’s website: “We are obviously very disappointed to lose Greg.

“He has been instrumental in our success over the last two years.

“I honestly believe it’s so sad for Greg to end his playing days so early as for me he is the best keeper around.

“He wants to pursue a career in coaching and to be around the Oldham first team is a chance he can’t turn down.

“Personally, and collectively, he will be missed.

“His family are great people too, I’m sure it won’t be the last time we see Greg in a Colls shirt.

“We have a great keeper in Chris Cheetham and we are also actively looking for another.

“That process started last week so expect some sort of news over the next couple of weeks.”