Colne made to pay

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COLNE suffered two away defeats over the week.

On Saturday the Reds went down 2-0 at Runcorn Linnets, and on Tuesday night they lost 3-1 at Squires Gate.

Colne travelled to the coast to face Gate whose poor start to the season had seen them take just two points from their first six games.

The Reds began brightly and in the second minute Ashley Carter’s pace took him past the Gate defence, but his hard, low cross evaded all his team mates.

In the first 15 minutes there was only one team in it as Colne confidently knocked the ball around in the midfield, with Dominic Craig and Chris Bailey causing problems down the left flank.

Then against the run of play, Squires Gate opened the scoring when Jonathan Forbes powered his way through the Reds’ defence and played in Joe Shelmerdine who slotted home past a helpless Chris Thompson.

Undeterred, Colne continued to pressurise the Squires Gate defence and five minutes later they had the chance to equalise when Ed O’Neil burst forward and played the ball to Jason Hart, who mis-kicked in front of goal.

But on 25 minutes Hart made amends when he chested down Craig’s cross and volleyed home into the top far corner to level the scores.

The rest of the half belonged to Colne with Tom Fowler coming close with a header and Carter blasting over from close range after good work by Anthony McLoughlin and Hart.

However, the second half was a different story as Squires Gate replicated the first goal when Shelmerdine burst through the middle and rounded Thompson before slotting home.

The Reds did have the ball in the net on 60 minutes when Beesley made a good save down low to his left, but when Bailey tapped home the rebound it was ruled off-side.

On 70 minutes the result was sealed when Sam Farrow latched onto a poor clearance and volleyed home from 20 yards.

In the final 20 minutes Colne began to get back into the game.

Paul Fildes combined well with Mickey Saunders, who turned quickly but his shot brought out a brilliant save from Beesley.

McLoughlin and Hart were also denied by some good goalkeeping.

Once again this was a missed opportunity for the Reds who will have to shore up their defence and finish off their opponents more clinically.

It was the same story on Saturday - the result of the game should have been settled by half-time as Colne dominated the play for long periods, and yet somehow they found themselves trailing by one goal.

But the warning signs were evident from the first minute when the Linnets’ prolific goal scorer Tommy Turner brushed aside his markers and blasted over the bar from 25 yards.

As the game progressed the Reds began to take control of the midfield areas and Runcorn found it increasingly more difficult to handle the trickery of Ashley Carter, the darting runs of Dominic Craig and the energy of Anthony McLoughlin.

These three players reacted well to the promptings of Ed O’Neil and Jimmy Crorken, and created several chances for Chris Bailey and Jason Hart.

The Linnets also had difficulty handling the pace of the Reds’ strikers, who were only denied by some excellent saves by the Linnets goalkeeper Dave Moran.

The first came when Bailey’s shot was spilled by the keeper onto the back of a defender and back into his hands.

Then Hart was tripped, and from Richard Johnson’s driven free kick, Moran produced an excellent save to deny Carter’s header.

Then with two minutes of the half remaining, Dave Hill was first to react to a corner and glanced his header downwards into the Colne net to put Runcorn into the lead against the run of play.

The Reds began the second half confidently, and in the first minute substitute Mickey Saunders created a chance for Hart, but his first time effort flew over the crossbar.

But 10 minutes in Turner chased a long clearance through the middle and muscled himself past the Colne defence before slotting the ball past Chris Thompson into the far corner.

Colne continued to push forward and created several scoring opportunities but without success.

Coyne provided some excellent crosses into the area, but Hart and Saunders could not capitalise on the chances.

Tom Fowler came close with a header. Paul Fildes’ shot was spilled by Moran, but he recovered to deflect the rebound.

And in the last minute Moran made a brilliant save at full stretch from Hart’s header which seemed destined for the far corner.

Once again for Colne the problem was not their performance but their inability to convert the chances.

Tomorrow Colne travel to Bootle in the league, but entertain AFC Blackpool at the XLCR Stadium next Tuesday.

BRIAN COATES

• BARNOLDSWICK Town remain second in the NWC Premier Division, despite only taking one point from six over the week.

Town drew 0-0 at AFC Blackpool on Tuesaday night, after a 2-1 defeat at home to Alsager Town on Saturday.

Ben Hall was pleased with a first clean sheet of the season on Tuesday, earned without the injured Stewart Airdrie, Robbie Smith, Shaun Clough, Spencer Jordan and Mark Threlfall, as well as Jack Overson, who phoned in sick hours before the game.

Town dominated proceedings and were extremely unfortunate not to win.

Hall said: “We were excellent, kept our first clean sheet and created numerous opportunities, three or four of which we should have taken.

“We were fluid, and extremely aware of their threats and defended and attacked as a team.

“Without doubt, it was our best overall display of the season so far but we can’t keep missing chances.

“We are down to the bare bones at the moment and every single player who travelled contributed to the performance.

“The players should be proud of themselves.”

However, Saturday was a game that got away from Town, with the home side totally dominating the play, but being unable to take advantage.

The game burst into life for all the wrong reasons for Town when on 36 minutes Aaron Hollindrake saw red for a retaliation offence on Alsager’s Bowyer - though the visitors’ Rigby stayed on the pitch despite a similar incident on Ash Alderson 10 minutes later.

Worse to follow for Town when on 57 minutes Bill Williams brought down Skellern in the area, who duly dispatched the spot kick into the bottom corner.

Town up against it, but they still dominated the play.

It was a case of would they get the equaliser they deserved, or would Alsager get the all-important second on one of their rare breaks.

Unfortunately for Town it was the latter with sub Hughes, looking somewhat offside, tapping home.

Town still pushed forward and got their goal on 83 minutes when Alderson drove home a direct free kick from outside the area.

That was the last of the action, but despite the loss Town can still look back on a good performance.

Tomorrow Town are at home to Maine Road (kick-off 3 p.m.).

• NELSON are in action in the FA Carlsberg Vase first qualifying round at home to Appleby Frodingham tomorrow (kick-off 3 p.m.).

Saturday’s game at home to West Didsbury and Chorlton was postponed due to waterlogged pitch.