TOWN'S hopes and and dreams of a run in the FA Cup were dashed at the first hurdle when they lost their extra Preliminary Round clash with Atherton Collieries.

The visitors, who are early pacesetters at the top of the NW Counties First Division, are favourites for promotion and, boosted by the recent acquisition of Glossop’s leading scorer, Mark Battersby, they looked a stylish, well-drilled outfit.

Town seized a 2-0 lead with goals from Hamish Falconer in the 19th minute and Andy Gillespie three minutes later.

They held out until eight minutes from the break when Truffas scored from a well-taken free-kick and the sides went in at the interval with Town 2-1 ahead.

The second half was dominated by Colls, who levelled through Hardcastle on 51 minutes.

A Battersby penalty put the visitors into the lead after 64 minutes, then Brooks scored the fourth, five minutes later. Town had a penalty appeal turned down ten minutes from time for Heald's challenge on Marcus Perry, who had to be carried off the field. Town’s misery was complete when their old adversary Phil Howard, popped up to score his obligatory goal against his home town club.

The previous Wednesday Town secured a stunning 6-2 win at Bacup, their first at West View for nine seasons,.

Marcus Perry, who was playing youth football this time last season, ran the home defence ragged in a fantastic first half performance, which was rewarded with a great goal after 22 minutes. The winger dispossessed two Bacup defenders and hit a wonderful shot around the keeper into the top corner of the net.

The goal of the game came on half-time as Aaron Morris tackled an opponent on the edge of his own penalty box and set off downfield, played a neat one-two before rifling home from the edge of the home box for his third goal of the season.

Bacup levelled the scores with goals from Bellamy and Cosgrave, but Town went on the rampage. Karl Bergqvist, who had his best game for the club, scored a quick-fire hat-trick, including two in added time and there was a fantastic cameo performance from last season’s leading scorer, Andy Gillespie, who came off the bench for his first appearance since sustaining severe facial and head injuries on Easter Monday and scored a great goal in the 75th minute.

Town travel to Colne on Saturday (3pm) and spectators have been advised to set off very early to avoid heavy traffic due to a local music festival taking place locally, as well as road works on the M65. They are at home again on Tuesday evening (7.45) when Stockport Sports provide the opposition at Brocstedes Park.