A Glasshoughton Welfare side ravaged by injury, suspensions and work commitments were clearly second best to sharp and well drilled South Yorkshire visitors as they lost 2-0 in the Premier Division of the Toolstation NCE League on Saturday.
Welfare battled well, however, and were in the game right up to the last 10 minutes when the visitors scored their two goals.
In a scrappy opening the home team was stretched to contain the pacy Joe Thornton and were not helped by the assistant referee’s inability to keep up with play and spot a number of glaring offside situations from which Athersley came close to opening the scoring.
Welfare were slow to settle and required to defend in depth, being thankful to see the visitors’ Adam White hitting an effort wide after slipping through a defensive gap before Matt Donnelly cleared off the goal-line with keeper Paul Hagreen beaten.
In Welfare’s first sortie Tim Curtis almost squeezed home at the near post, but the visitors were soon back with former Glasshoughton player Lee Bennett clearly looking to gain a penalty, but winning a corner kick from which the hosts struggled to clear their lines.
Recreation were by far the better side in the first half with Welfare hanging on desperately at times and to their credit and with slices of good fortune they went to the half- time whistle without capitulation.
In the second period after surviving a miss by Bennett and a clearance off the goal-line by Alex Low Welfare upped their game and had large periods where they dominated the game.
New signing Matthew Bugg, who has arrived from Liversedge, was unfortunate not to score with a crisp low drive and Hilliaro Serrao brought the best out of visiting keeper Josh Herring.
But at the moment when the hosts appeared to getting on top Recreation executed a length of the field move for White to cut in from the touchline. After evading some weak challenges from the home defence he laid the ball across for Bennett to force home for the opening goal on 80 minutes.
In an attempt to salvage something which they had deserved from the game Welfare replied with gusto, but as they pushed forward they were caught out late on as Athersley took advantage of a stretched defence to wrap the points up with Thornton being picked out to drive past Hagreen.
This Saturday Glasshoughton are at home again when they entertain Nostell MW in another Premier Division match. Kick-off is 3pm.