Manager Neil Baker reverted to the formation that had served his side so well in the win at Radcliffe a few weeks ago with Scott Lycett coming in to make a three man defence with wing-backs.
Lee Wilshaw was also drafted in at late notice after Lewis Short who was named on the team sheet pulled out with an injury sustained in the warm-up.
Blues got off to a good start and Tim Grice had a header that went inches over after six minutes with the ball landing on the roof of the net.
Three minutes later Atherton goalkeeper Greg Hartley made a hash of an attempted clearance. The ball spun off his foot and was collected by Rob Stevenson, however his shot from a tight angle was blocked by the keepers foot as he scrambled back to goal.
Stevenson had a sharp turn and shot saved by Hartley on the quarter of an hour mark, before Colls missed a great chance a minute later when Jordan Cover blazed the ball over when well- placed.
The home side improved as the half wore on and Connor Hughes opened the scoring on 35 minutes when he cut in from the left and hit a low shot across Danny Roberts into the far corner of the net.
Blues went further behind six minutes later when Tom Bentham turned his man just inside the box and rifled a great finish into the roof of the net.
Ten minutes after the break a half-cleared corner fell to Darren Chadwick but his low shot went just the wrong side of the post.
Atherton had a free-kick deflected wide on 62 minutes and from the resulting corner Gareth Peet’s header was cleared off the line by Niall Green.
Charlie Walford had a shot blocked shortly afterwards and Stevenson saw a flicked header saved by Hartley.
Dan Trickett-Smith came on for the last twenty minutes and with the game petering out two minutes from time he lashed home a superb finish on the half-volley from 20 yards past Hartley.
However Colls saw out the three added minutes without alarm for a victory that leaves them favourites to take the automatic promotion place, whilst Blues face a tough fight to make the play-off places.
1. Danny Roberts
2. Niall Green
3. Lee Wilshaw (16. Dan Trickett-Smith, 70)
4. Niall Maguire (12. Aaron Bott, 80)
5. Darren Chadwick
6. Jack Sanders
7. Charlie Walford
8. Billy Reeves
9. Tim Grice
10. Scott Lycett
11. Rob Stevenson
Unused subs: 14. Marc Grocott 17. Jordan Johnson
Yellow card: Billy Reeves
Photo courtesy of David Featherstone
Updated 17:57 - 12 Mar 2019 by Stevie R