COLNE collected their 250th North West Counties League win on Saturday thanks to a 2-0 success against Runcorn Linnets.
A pitch inspection in the morning was needed after the recent hard frosts and heavy rain, and it was Colne who coped with the conditions the better of the two teams.
The Reds went on the attack from the first whistle, and a sweeping move by Jason Hart and Ed O’Neill after only two minutes gave Dominic Craig an opening, but his 20-yard shot was blocked in the penalty area.
And Colne might have taken the lead after eight minutes when a great exchange of passes with Hart released Ashley Carter into the penalty area, and his shot was pushed round the near post by visiting keeper Richard Mottram.
As the Reds continued to press, Hart curled a measured shot inches wide of the far post just 10 minutes later.
After a period of domination by the home side, Linnets came back into the game and Keith Wedge and Michael Duffy supplied a series of dangerous balls into the Colne goalmouth from moves on the right wing.
But Chris Thompson and his defenders coped well with the threat and were relieved to see Michael Burke shoot wide from a good chance on 35 minutes.
The Reds rallied before half-time with some promising attacks but were unable to make the breakthrough.
As the second half began, Linnets almost took a shock lead when Michael Ellison rattled the Colne post with a well-struck shot from just outside the area. But as play switched to the other end, Hart forced Mottram into a good save with a low shot into the wet goalmouth.
But as Linnets threatened again, keeper Thompson did well to fist away Martin Crowder’s swerving free kick from the top corner of his goal.
Colne’s tricky footwork in the slippery conditions frequently had the visiting defenders floundering and Hart and Carter again combined before Carter curled a shot just wide of the far post from a clear opening.
Micky Saunders’ tireless running created several openings and Craig almost benefitted when his close range shot was blocked by the keeper.
And it was Craig after 63 minutes who got round the visitors’ defence on the left wing and laid the ball back for Hart to fire home a low shot and give the Reds the lead.
Twelve minutes later, Hart’s run created panic in the Linnets rearguard and Mark Coyne (pictured) seized upon a half clearance to curl a shot into the top corner of the net to double Colne’s lead.
Ross McDowell had a great chance to pull a goal back for Linnets just four minutes later with a free header in front of goal but Thompson was ideally placed to hold the ball in the goalmouth.
Colne pushed forward looking for a third goal in the closing stages with Tom Fowler prompting some good attacks in addition to his defensive duties. A third goal would not come despite some excellent attacking play but the win maintains Colne’s place in the top six as they continue their recent good form.
The Reds welcome AFC Liverpool to the XLCR Stadium tomorrow, and on Boxing Day Colne are at Silsden.