top of page

PREVIEW | Athersley Recreation (H)

The Forest Town Arena hosts yet another important relegation battle as bottom side Athersley are the next to face the Bulls.

Though the two sides are nine points apart, AFC could lose their grip on the main pack having closed the gap on the teams above to within reaching distance.

A win, meanwhile, could see Matt Chatfield's side climb as high as 15th position in the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division, potentially leapfrogging Albion Sports, Knaresborough, and either Handsworth or Goole if results go in their favour.

The tie kicks off at 3pm, subject to a potential pitch inspection.


Last Time Out

Tuesday night saw the Bulls clinch a place in the NCEL League Cup final eight at the expense of Division One side Rossington Main, who with ten men came agonisingly close to forcing the tie to a penalty shoot-out in a performance which more than matched their higher-league hosts.

Kabuya Kianga volleyed home a corner at the back post to earn Main a 27th minute lead, but the Bulls immediately responded as Ross Duggan bagged goal number 30 of the season with a simple tap-in from close range.

Duggan then turned the game on its head with a sensational solo finish from the edge of the area, and Adam Watson's second yellow card early in the second period put the tie even further in the hosts' favour.

Rossington remained firmly in the tie, and Niall Doran's low slotted finish levelled things up once again just moments after he was denied by Hugo Warhurst from the spot.

But Duggan's hot form had the final say, as he headed a looping cross beyond Jan Budtz at the back post with 15 minutes to play, whilst Budtz almost forced the tie to go to a shoot-out but saw his injury-time finish ruled out for offside.


The Opposition

Athersley have struggled for points throughout the season and find themselves eight points adrift of safety with 14 Premier Division fixtures left to play.

A 1-1 stalemate was the result of the last time the two sides met; Matt Chatfield will hope that AFC will have taken four points from a possible six from their visitors by 5pm on Saturday.

Whilst both teams have struggled for consistent goal-scoring form throughout the season - with 28 league goals apiece - the clear difference can be found at the back, as Athersley have conceded on a whopping 87 occasions, more than twice as many as the Bulls.


Team News

After serving three matches on the sidelines, club captain Phil Buxton becomes available for selection for the first time since the 2-1 defeat to Bottesford.


bottom of page