ATHERTON Collieries recorded a dramatic 2-1 win against FC United of Manchester in a tightly-fought battle at the Skuna Stadium.

In a physical NPL Premier Division game played in soaking wet conditions, both sides ensured the referee was kept busy with half a dozen yellow cards dished out as the two teams battled for the win.

Colls took the game to United from the off, Marcus Cusani a constant threat running in behind the defence with Aaron Smith seeing the first shot of the game deflected into Dan Lavercombe’s gloves.

Despite the home side’s pressure, it was United who took the lead in the first half, Cian Hayes gliding past a couple of challenges before laying it to Brad Holmes who had a simple finish from six yards – the visitors’ first strike on target on 32 minutes.

Joel Amado and Luca Defreitas-Hansen both had chances from set-pieces in the first half, the latter’s headed effort forcing a superb save from Lavercombe in the United goal.

Brad Cooke brought on Scott Sephton and Matty Gillam after the break as his side pushed to get back in the game.

And Sephton’s searching ball was plucked down brilliantly by Ethan Kershaw in the box, the midfielder’s silky touch seeing him in on goal and he made no mistake, dispatching the ball past the keeper with a low, driven effort on 68 minutes.

It was no less than Colls deserved, the home side being in the ascendency for much of the game. With the rain hammering down and both sides searching for a late winner, there were nervy scenes as Hayes saw an effort denied by an alert Luke Hutchinson.

It looked to be heading for a draw until the black and whites snatched the win in stoppage time.

Cusani faced up his man and squared to Defreitas-Hansen, and the wandering centre-back bundled the ball over the line to send the Colls fans into raptures and seal a big three points.

Colls are back in action tonight when they make the long journey to eighth-placed Scarborough Athletic in the league.