Colne’s year of progress

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COLNE boss Nigel Coates has challenged his side to continue the club’s gradual progression in the North West Counties Premier Division.

The Reds ended last season in eighth position and culminated the 2010/11 season in a more than respectable fifth place, level on 73 points with local rivals Padiham.

He said: “We’ve probably over-achieved anyway finishing fifth but it was a little bit frustrating that we couldn’t quite make that step up to fourth.

“We finished eighth last year and fifth this year so with an extra year of experience in the lads at this level we hope to improve yet again next season.”

Coates will be hoping to tie up the services of 19-goal hitman Danny Boyle over the summer among others while he admits he’ll be looking to draw in rough diamonds from the lower leagues.

“If we improve again then we’ll finish in the top four,” Coates said. “We just need to keep everyone here. We’re competing with clubs in this division with a much bigger budget so it’s not easy to bring two or three targets in.

“I’ll be looking at players in the West Lancs League who look as though they could make the step up. I’ll just have to keep my finger on the pulse.”

Meanwhile Coates’ side rounded off their campaign in emphatic style with a thumping 6-1 victory at home to St Helens Town.

The conditions at the XLCR Stadium were not conducive to good football with a swirling wind on a hard bumpy surface but Colne adapted well and took the lead after just four minutes when Danny Boyle slipped the ball to Sam Hayes who pulled it back from the bye-line to Neil Stansfield who raced clear of his marker to volley home into the roof of the net from 10 yards.

But on 20 minutes St Helens drew level when they were awarded a free kick and, due to a lack of communication, Scott Baker was allowed to nip between two defenders and glance the ball past Jamie Scott who looked favourite to clear the danger.

Then, 10 minutes later, the Reds went ahead again when Joe Garvin delivered a delightful free kick into the area and Mark Threlfall was first to react and glanced the ball home with the keeper routed to the spot.

Two minutes later the Reds increased their lead when Stansfield won a challenge in midfield and released Boyle through the middle and, although the keeper blocked his first effort, he made no mistake when he rifled home the rebound.

And, before half-time, the Reds made it four when Threlfall showed good feet to beat his marker and played in James Crorken whose sweet strike inside the post gave the St Helens keeper no chance.

In the second half Colne continued from where they had left off with Steve Cunningham and Stansfield prompting the threats of Boyle and Threlfall down both flanks.

And on 60 minutes the Reds made it 5-0 when Threlfall flicked a long clearance by Scott into the path of Boyle who raced clear of the defence and after seeing his first shot blocked by the keeper, as with his first goal, he clipped the rebound inside the far post.

The score could have been even greater but for two great saves by Newbrook from Andy Tinker and Crorken and a Cunningham header which clipped the bar.

Then on 90 minutes the Reds made it six when Sam Morris picked out Threlfall who out jumped the defence and headed into the top corner.

In added time Threlfall looked certain to notch his second hat-trick against the Saints when Boyle played him through the middle but with only Newbrook to beat he blasted the ball over the stand.