Second-half strikes from Jake Charles and Alex Byrne saw Atherton Collieries slip to a 2-1 home defeat against Ashton United on Saturday.

Sidi Fofana had put the hosts ahead early on, but they would ultimately be left empty-handed after the Robins’ post-break rally.

The Colls entered Saturday’s game at the Skuna Stadium in need of a response after a 6-0 defeat at Macclesfield in midweek, and found one almost immediately, as midfielder Fofana eventually steered Adam Dawson’s dangerous set-piece delivery over the line. It was Fofana’s first goal for the Stripes.

Dawson would remain a threat throughout the remainder of the half, and almost turned provider again as Jack Evans saw his effort trickle just wide.

That was one of many half-chances in an open and entertaining first 45, with the visitors best opening coming through ex-Atherton winger Marcus Cusani, whose header was saved brilliantly at point-blank range by Nico Defreitas-Hansen.

Steve Cunningham’s men came closer still shortly after the break, with the assistant’s flag this time denying an equalising goal.

But that near-miss would prove the spark for a seemingly relentless wave of second-half pressure from the away side, who made it 1-1 after Charles poked home at the end of an almighty scramble.

And it was 2-1 when the ball fell to Byrne on the edge of the area, and he was able to squeeze the ball past the on-rushing Defreitas-Hansen to complete the turnaround.

It was heartbreak for the excellent Defreitas-Hansen and the Collieries collective, and the Tameside play-off protagonists then played down the clock with consummate ease.

It was a much-improved performance following the Macclesfield no show. Plenty of chances were created in the opening stanza while the Robins were both galvanised and ruthless after the break.

On Tuesday night, Colls visit Stafford Rangers (7.45pm) in what could be labelled a must-win fixture for both sides.