A brace from Basford United’s Matthew Thornhill condemned Atherton Collieries to a fourth consecutive home defeat in the NPL Premier Division on Saturday.

Thornhill’s brace after half time came either side of Enock Lusiama’s sixth goal in six games for the hosts and was enough to earn the visitors all three points.

In a first half devoid of chances, Atherton Collieries arguably started better with Lewis Mansell capitalising on a loose ball in behind the Basford defence around 20 minutes in, only for the chance to be smothered by Kieran Preston in the visitors’ goal.

With 15 minutes to play in the first period, Lewis Thompson received the ball on the left before cutting inside and playing a teasing ball to the back post which was almost turned home by Kieran Fenton.

The breakthrough for the visitors came 10 minutes after half time as Remaye Campbell flicked on a long throw into the path of the on-rushing Thornhill, who fired into the roof of the net.

After a period of sustained pressure in which Atherton had a succession of corners, a Jack Evans low strike was deflected into the path of Lusiama on 74 minutes, who reacted first to level the score and take his tally to 14 goals for the season.

However, heartbreak would come for the home side five minutes later as Thornhill struck a long-range free-kick which deceived Tom Donaghy in the Colls goal to seal Basford’s win.