COLNE’S last home game of the season ended in defeat on Tuesday night at the XLCR Stadium after high-flying Bootle took a two-goal lead early in the game.
The visitors looked strong from the outset and the Reds found it hard to create chances early on. But Ted Cockett came close with a shot just over the angle from Danny Gleave’s cross after 17 minutes.
As play switched to the other end, Josh Essery got to the bye-line with a good run and pulled the ball back for Ryan Wilkinson to fire home a low shot and give Bootle the lead. Four minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead when Michael Young’s cross was knocked home from close range by Thomas Foley, and it appeared that the floodgates were about to open.
But the Reds rallied and fought their way back into the game. Ryan Brereton’s shot was headed away by a defender in the penalty area on the half hour,and a minute later, Mark Threlfall saw his close range header saved by the keeper following Steve Pickup’s free kick. After 33 minutes, a slick passing move sent Danny Boyle into the area but after forcing his way past the defenders, he lifted his shot over the bar. After 40 minutes, Neil Stansfield laid on another chance for Boyle but his mis-hit shot was scrambled round the post by the keeper.
After the interval Bootle again got on top and the Colne defence were at full stretch to contain them, with Wilkinson making several dangerous runs into the area, stopped by Pickup and Luke McVarish.
After 80 minutes, McVarish’s diagonal free kick to the far post was knocked across goal by Dave Blacklock and Boyle was inches away from turning the ball into the net. Colne then enjoyed a period of possession, passing the ball around but without creating chances and when Bootle broke to the other end, Gleave made an excellent tackle to dispossess Foley as he weaved his way into the Colne penalty area.
The final piece of action saw Boyle fire a 20 yard shot over the bar after a good build-up on the left wing as the Reds were denied a consolation goal.
On Saturday, Colne had to settle for a point at AFC Liverpool after conceding an equaliser in the dying minutes.
Liverpool started the stronger and James Buckley missed a great chance on 13 minutes when he chipped his shot over the Colne goal with only Chris Thompson to beat.
Minutes later, Muktar Mahama volleyed just wide after River Humphreys’ free kick picked him out in the penalty area.
But the Reds came close after 20 minutes when Jimmy Crorken’s free kick shaved the post with keeper Leon Bimpson struggling to get across his line. And within minutes, Sam Hayes’ close range shot was saved by the keeper’s outstretched foot on the goal-line as Colne piled on the pressure.
Hayes’ dangerous cross had the home defence in trouble but Colne’s claims for a penalty for handball were waved aside. Then Neil Stansfield’s shot was deflected for a corner after Billy Priestley had headed down Danny Gleave’s free kick in the penalty area.
And Andy Tinker shot wide at the near post on the half hour from another great chance provided by Stansfield’s cross.
Two minutes later, Danny Boyle cut through the home defence with a great run and his diagonal shot was pushed round the post in a one-handed save by the keeper. Four minutes later, Bimpson repeated the save as he kept out another free kick from Crorken.
After a good period of possession by Colne, it was Liverpool who broke away and had the ball in the net just before the interval only to be denied by an offside flag.
Six minutes after the interval, Hayes had his shot blocked in the goalmouth in a period of Colne pressure. And Colne took the lead after 57 minutes when Kieran Demaine’s corner was headed on by Billy Priestley and rifled home at the far post by Boyle (pictured).
Liverpool were stung into action and two dangerous runs by Shaun Harris needed great tackles inside the penalty area by Richard Johnson and Priestley to prevent an equaliser.
But Boyle looked to have another great chance to stretch Colne’s lead as he broke clear on a through ball from Tinker but was tackled just inside the area as he lined up his shot.
Liverpool came back strongly in the closing stages and Gleave denied Buckley with a strong tackle in the area on 85 minutes. But a free kick from out on the left on 89 minutes was played low into the goalmouth and had the Reds defence in trouble and Humphreys forced the ball home from close range to level the scores.
The Reds have no game this weekend and their two remaining games are both away from home at Glossop on Saturday, April 28th (kick-off 3 p.m.) and at Bacup on Monday the 30th (kick-off 7-45 p.m.).