COLNE suffered two defeats over the week, but could consider them hard done to against high-flying Ramsbottom United at the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Reds went down to a 1-0 defeat in controversial circumstances, having turned in a better performance than in Saturday’s 3-1 reverse at home to Congleton Town, and should have had some reward after more than matching their opponents.
Danny Boyle might have given them the lead after 10 minutes when a long free kick fell to him in the area, but Rams keeper Grant Shenton was quick off his line and managed to block his shot.
Three minutes later, Bright Maduka exchanged passes with Boyle in a break down the right and was brought down by Shenton, who had raced from his goal. Although the referee initially awarded a penalty to Colne,, he changed his mind after consulting the assistant, who judged that Maduka had dived.
After 19 minutes, Ted Cockett forced a great save from Shenton, and from the corner, Danny Gleave’s header struck the bar.
As play switched to the other end, a Ramsbottom corner reached Ian Flannery in the goalmouth, and his powerful header brought a brilliant one-handed save from Colne keeper Andy Moore.
But Ramsbottom took the lead after 25 minutes in controversial circumstances when Colne’s free kick in midfield was charged down and Ryan Moore broke away to score with a low shot past Moore, despite the Reds’ protests.
Colne continued to attack but might have gone further behind after 40 minutes when a high cross was deflected towards his own goal by Gleave and Moore kept the ball out of the net with a great reaction save onto the bar.
The second half belonged to Colne as they pushed forward but their efforts were frequently frustrated.
With the visitors under pressure, Mark Threlfall’s high cross found Boyle beyond the far post, but his header was directed back across goal from a great chances. And Boyle missed another golden opportunity on 81 minutes when he lifted his shot over the bar from 10 yards out after Jimmy Crorken had laid the ball back from the bye-line.
Four minutes later, Boyle’s luck did not improve when he saw his firmly-driven shot cleared off the line after Cockett’s cross had been headed down by Threlfall at the far post.
Ultimately time ran out for the Reds as Ramsbottom held on for the three points.
On Saturday, Colne lost out in an incident-packed game against Congleton.
The Reds started brightly but the visitors always looked dangerous, and Colne keeper Moore did well to halt Jack Graham’s run with a tackle outside his area. Sam Hayes cleared a shot off the line after 20 minutes when Boylan Graham had rounded the keeper and looked a certain scorer. Moore dived at the feet of Curtis Gill to prevent a Congleton goal after 32 minutes, and the referee ruled out Joshua Bennett’s far post header for pushing three minutes later.
At the other end, Liam Goggin was brought down by a late tackle in the area but the referee decided that he had made too much of the challenge and refused the penalty.
But just before half-time, Congleton were reduced to 10 men when Boylan Graham was sent off for a foul on Billy Priestley.
In the second half, Hayes was caught in possession by Jack Graham and his cross fell to Adriano Rigoglioso, who gave Congleton the lead with a clever overhead kick after 56 minutes.
The Reds piled on the pressure and Maduka saw his header come back off the post. Boyle got the equaliser on 78 minutes when he blasted home a pile-driver from 20 yards.
And the Reds might have taken the lead when Threlfall went clear on the left but his low hard cross was not converted.
After 84 minutes, a harshly awarded free kick on the edge of the Colne penalty area gave James Kelly the opportunity to blast an unstoppable shot into the net to restore the visitors’ lead.
The Reds continued to attack and Cockett’s run gave Maduka a sight of goal, but his shot was saved. And, at the other end, in injury time, Gareth Richards broke clear of the home defence and added a third goal for the visitors with a good finish to seal the win for Congleton.