A CLINICAL Mickleover took advantage of a wasteful Atherton Collieries to claim a 2-0 victory at the Don Armott Arena in the NPL Premier Division.

Atherton started brightly, controlling possession and creating opportunities throughout the first half yet failing to convert.

The first major opportunity of the game fell for Sports’ Andy Dales, who beat multiple defenders following a counter-attack, flashing his effort across the goal-line.

Colls’ Elliot Rokka had a golden opportunity after 30 minutes, controlling a loose ball on the edge of the six-yard box before firing straight at the goalkeeper, despite having the entire goal at his disposal.

Mickleover soon exploited the thriftless Collieries. A defensive clearance landed perfectly for Mason Warren to volley home, opening the scoring at the Don despite claims of a foul in the build-up.

Sports secured victory minutes later. The referee adjudged Colls’ Joel Amado to have pushed Andy Dales in the box, awarding a penalty for Mason Warren to convert with confidence for a 2-0 lead.

The Colls grew back into the game, to no avail.

Marcus Cusani came close with a high effort following some patient build-up play, before Sports’ drew a fantastic double-save from Colls keeper Hutchinson following a Augustien free-kick.

Mickleover defended resolutely for the remainder of the match, while Atherton continued to control possession.

Matty Gillam came closest, poking wide after beating his man in the penalty box.

Colls maintained their pressure to create multiple opportunities in the dying embers, with a succession of crosses into the box unable to find the elusive converting touch.

Speaking after the match, manager Bradley Cooke said: “If you miss chances like that against anybody in this division, you get punished, and unfortunately we’re being punished week after week after week, but that’s this division.

“It’s unforgiving, and that goal would have propelled us on, football changes like that in an instant, which is just not happening for us at the moment.

“I’ve no major qualms with our general play, it’s just sticking the ball in the back of the net.

“We’ve had enough chances there to win two games, but we’ve not.

“Unless we start putting the ball in the back of the net, it’s going to be a long, long season.”