Danny Boyle netted a hat-trick and two red cards were shown as Colne beat Nelson 3-1 in the NWC Premier Division at Victoria Park in the “Pendle Clasico”.
Hundreds of fans boycotted England’s European Championship Group E victory over Lithuania at Wembley, opting instead to take in the spectacle at Lomeshaye Way’s Little Wembley.
While Boyle took his tally to 36 for the season, moving five clear of AFC Liverpool’s Ryan Cox at the top of the scoring charts, the striker was as fortuitous as he was predatory.
The league’s leading marksman was denied from the spot by Ben Woodhead on two occasions, but converted both rebounds, and then made no mistake with his third penalty of the fixture to seal victory.
His first, just shy of the quarter-of-an-hour mark once Mike Fletcher had upended Spencer Jordan, saw Woodhouse tip the effort on to the upright, though Boyle reacted well to smash the rebound home off the underside of the bar.
Steve Cunningham’s Reds were reduced to 10 men when Joe Garvin was given his marching orders for a reckless challenge on Kieran Walmsley.
However, Colne extended their advantage just before the interval. After Fletcher handled, Boyle went the same way, Woodhouse plunged to his right to save, but once again the rebound was tucked away to make it 2-0.
Jonny Hession, who had replaced Ed O’Neill for the Blues early in the second half, struck the woodwork as the hosts sought a route back in to the game but within 60 seconds Joe O’Neill was dismissed for a second bookable offence when handling Matt O’Neill’s centre.
Alex Porter forced a stunning save from Chris Thompson with a stinging, angled drive, but it was the goalkeeper’s mistake that led to Ben Hoskin firing home to reduce the deficit in the 85th minute.
There was still time for another penalty and another goal, though. Chris Anderson’s shot was turned away by the arm of Andy Mason, who somehow avoided joining Garvin and O’Neill down the tunnel, and Boyle thumped the resulting spot kick down the middle to make it 3-1.
“The attendance was given at 4-4-2 and there must’ve been more than 300 Colne fans tonight,” said Cunningham.
“It felt like a cup final atmosphere which was good. They were massive for us. That amount of fans on a Friday night when England are playing is brilliant. It’s a credit to both teams.
“Tonight they’ve been entertained by a proper derby. I think they’ve had their monies worth tonight.”
He added: “There was some good football even though we scored from three penalties; but they were penalties.
“Joe Garvin’s is a sending off, it was right in front of the dugout. But they’ve had two or three players that got away with a lot.
“It was a good derby but one we controlled. We were never under any real pressure and we stayed really disciplined. We were solid with 10 men as well and they couldn’t break us down. I think we were good value for 3-1. I’m chuffed.”
Meanwhile, Nelson FC boss Mark Fell said: “It was a great derby. I don’t think I’ll ever lose a game again where we’ll concede three penalties and lose 3-1.
“The fact that we haven’t really appealed against any of those decisions suggests that they were bob on. We can’t really argue with them.
“I think all three goals are soft and we can do much better in the build up to them. We’ve got to learn from that. We’re giving teams goals.
“Ben Woodhouse makes one of the best penalty saves you’ll ever see, tipping it on to the post, and on another day you get that bit of luck and he pushes it away and we’re still in the game. It was even up until then but over the two games Colne have deserved the points.”