Atherton Collieries finished their pre-season campaign with a 3-0 defeat to Witton Albion on a torrential afternoon at the Skuna Stadium.

Colls started slowly and never truly got going in the rain, punished by a clinical Albion side who made the most of their chances on the day.

The visitors came out the blocks the stronger of the two teams and saw two early chances spurned, with former Colls man Elliot Rokka twice getting in behind the home defence but failing to convert.

The early warning signs were not heeded, though, as Rokka netted his first before the half-hour mark, getting his head to the ball to glance past Nico Hansen in the 25th minute.

Colls did begin to show signs of life after falling behind, Harvey Gregson testing the Albion keeper for the first time with a rasping effort from distance.

However, it was the visitors who doubled their advantage with half-time approaching, experienced striker Tom Pope dispatching a well-taken volley past Hansen to make it two.

Colls squandered a golden chance to pull one back on the stroke of half time, Mwiya Malumo somehow failing to convert with the keeper sprawling and the goal gaping.

The second half saw the rain come town in buckets and Colls frustrations in front of goal continue, with Gregson and Malumo both seeing efforts denied after the break.

Witton would pull clear before the hour mark, a poorly-defended throw-in routine culminating with a tidy finish from Rokka, beating Hansen to find the bottom-right corner.

It was not for lack of trying on the day from Colls, Dylan Moonan seeing a swerving effort parried away and Josh Askew bursting through on goal only to see his strike turned behind.

Colls did eventually have the ball in the back of the net, Malumo nodding home on the rebound but the assistant’s flag on the near side summed up the hosts’ luck on the day.

There would be more chances before the full-time whistle, Pemberton failing to convert from five yards and Malumo once again thwarted by the visiting keeper with Hansen called into action before full time.

All eyes will now turn to the NPL season opener at Whitby on Saturday (3pm), where Colls will be hoping for an improvement in the weather and better luck in front of goal.

Then, on Tuesday, Colls host former Football League side Bradford (Park Avenue), at 7.45pm.