GAINSBOROUGH Trinity arrived for their first-ever visit to Atherton Collieries, and won 3-1 to avenge their defeat in the reverse fixture at the Northolme in October.

It was their new signing Nicky Walker who left with the plaudits, bagging a hat-trick and leaving with the match ball. Walker had played at the Skuna for Boston United in their FA Trophy defeat by Colls earlier in the season.

Atherton had the first chance of the game on 11 minutes when Tom Bentham dispossessed Michael Williams in the box and shot through a crowd of defenders, only to see George Wills save smartly with his feet.

Trinity’s first attack of note was to completely undo Colls.

Target man Greg Smith’s flailing arm floored Ben Conway but as the referee watched on. Alex Wiles collected the ball, danced through the defence and pulled back for Walker to put into the unguarded net.

There was an almost carbon-copy of the goal when Gainsborough doubled their lead on 39 minutes. A throw-in from the right led to Smith outmuscling Danny Lambert for the ball and it fell kindly for Wiles to once again tee up Walker for his second, this time shooting through the legs of the unlucky Clive Smith.

Shortly before the break, Colls keeper Paddy Wharton was forced to strong-arm a piledriver to safety as Curtis Woodhouse’s side looked to put the game to bed.

The Black and White Stripes were almost back in it within moments of the restart as skipper Danny Lafferty rose highest at a set-piece but his attempt cannoned off the outside of the post, denying the captain a birthday goal.

The second half was to drag, with Gainsborough slowing the game down and Colls not playing their normal fluid football, the stop/start nature of the game not conducive to the entertainment value.

It took until just five minutes remained before Colls had any joy. As Gaz Peet ran at the defence, they backed off, allowing him to drill a shot across goal that struck the far post and rebounded into the back of the net to give the hosts a chance at 2-1.

As Colls pushed forward in the hope of creating one last chance in the prolonged stoppage time, Walker sprang the offside trap in the centre-circle, fending off the attentions of the backtracking Vinny Bailey to fire across Wharton and wrap up the game.

It was a below-par Colls display and they were punished by a no-nonsense Trinity outfit who thoroughly enjoyed their first trip to Atherton, the victory taking them three points clear of Brad Cooke’s side, 17th in the BetVictor Premier Division. Tonight Colls host Stalybridge Celtic in the Integro League Cup.

Kick off at the Skuna Stadium is 7.45pm.