COLNE produced another promising performance against last season’s North West Counties League Champions Ramsbottom United at the XLCR Stadium last Saturday and discovered another hat trick hero in Micky Saunders.
In a lively opening, the first clear chance fell to the visitors when Jon Robinson went clear but Reds keeper Chris Thompson came out to deny him with a good save. Five minutes later, Colne came within inches of taking the lead at the other end when Jason Hart’s cross was headed against the bar by Paul Coote.
The Rams keeper was kept busy in a period of Colne pressure and kept out Jimmy Crorken’s header with a spectacular save after 25 minutes. Three minutes later, however, it was Ramsbottom who took the lead when Robinson surprised Thompson with a shot on the turn that dipped under the crossbar.
Paddy O’Brien was injured in a tackle on the half hour and his replacement Micky Saunders played a major part in Colne’s second half resurgence. Just one minute after the interval, Saunders popped up in the Ramsbottom goalmouth to turn Ashley Carter’s shot into the net for the Reds equaliser.
Colne took the initiative and Mark Coyne forced a good save from the keeper before Saunders was put through by a superb diagonal ball and beat the keeper with a cool finish to give the Reds a 2-1 lead on 53 minutes.
Bobby Harris protected the lead with a great one-handed save while at the other end, the Rams keeper kept out Coyne’s header with an equally good save.
In a period of pressure on the visitors’ goal on 65 minutes, Saunders was tripped by a defender in the penalty area and he stepped up to fire home the spot kick to give the Reds a 3-1 lead and complete his hat trick.
Ramsbottom came back strongly and Martin Cosgrove saw his shot deflected wide off Harris’ feet before Harris produced an instinctive save to turn Mike Ayres’ header over the bar from the corner. But the next cross into the box was handled by a Reds defender giving the Rams a penalty. And Mark Drew converted the spot kick to pull the score back to 3-2 after 76 minutes.
Colne had to dig deep in the closing stages to contain the visitors but ran out deserved winners after another performance which gives cause for optimism for the coming season.
Final Score: Colne 3, Ramsbottom United 2
Colne welcome Radcliffe Boro to the XLCR Stadium today with a 3 p.m. kick off and travel to Chadderton on Tuesday, 7 p.m. kick off.