Atherton Collieries relegated after Macclesfield defeat

A 1-0 defeat at home to Macclesfield on Tuesday night confirmed Atherton Collieries' relegation from the Northern Premier League.

Ahead of their final midweek outing of the season, Colls knew that they still needed to win all three of their remaining fixtures and hope other results went their way if they were to produce the most dramatic of escapes.

However, Kane Drummond struck his 14th goal of the season inside the final quarter to mathematically confirm their fate as the Silkmen climbed to second in the table after their seventh league win in a row.

Colls' evening got even worse shorter after as they were reduced to 10 men, Lewis Thompson sent off for a second bookable offence.

They have won just seven of their 38 league games and still have to face Marine and Worksop Town - both of whom are fighting for a spot in the play-offs.

Reflecting on their performance after the game, manager David Chadwick was quick to pay tribute to both his squad and the club's supporters.

"I thought we were brilliant," he said post-match.

"I'm so proud of them all because we've gone toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league and we know what quality they've got.

"[Macclesfield] are a good set of lads. I know a few of them, and they needed to work hard to get a result today."

When asked about Colls' support from the stands, Chadwick added: "It's been a tough season. We've had to build a team from scratch, and the fans have never shirked away.

"They backed the players all season and showed their appreciate at the end - clapping every single player, which was good to see."

There are still three teams at risk of relegation ahead of the penultimate round of fixtures, with Bradford Park Avenue currently four points from safety on 29.

Stafford Rangers occupy the final relegation place one point further ahead. They are three behind 18th-placed Basford United, who visit newly-crowned Northern Premier League champions Radcliffe this weekend.

Where next?

Gainsborough retain services of hot shot forward Gainsborough Trinity have announced a raft of new deals for their existing first team squad - with top scorer Declan Howe among the players to have agreed terms ahead of next season.
2023/24 NPL Goal Show: Episode 31 Welcome to the latest episode of the NPL Goal Show!

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