Reds lose ground in the title chase

COLNE V CONGLETON: Nathan Bond celebrates his opening goal.
Photo Ben Parsons
COLNE V CONGLETON: Nathan Bond celebrates his opening goal. Photo Ben Parsons

Colne lost ground in the promotion race on Monday evening when they went down to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at rivals Atherton Collieries.

The Reds started brightly, building some promising attacks from the midfield, but the home side showed a glimpse of their attacking abilities after only 10 minutes when Mark Battersby flashed a header just over from a clear opening.

Five minutes later, Colls had the ball in the net when Bradley Cook headed home Dave Sherlock’s free kick, but a linesman’s flag ruled the effort out.

After 19 minutes, Colls took the lead through another Sherlock free kick, when Mark Ayres headed home at the far post.

Jordan Cover was next to threaten the Reds’ goal when he burst clear, but Chris Thompson got down to block his shot and clear the danger.

Colne came more into the game and pushed forward looking for an equaliser, but Colls defence cleared a series of dangerous crosses.

Three minutes after the interval, the home side doubled their lead when Ayres met a corner kick at the near post to head into the net.

Colls went further ahead after 57 minutes when Cover chased a through ball, and Thompson advanced from his goal but miskicked his clearance, giving Cover the opportunity to fire home from a narrow angle.

As Colne battled on, Jason Hart stood out with his attacking runs down the left, and Nathan Bond and Chris Anderson both had shots saved by Danny Tabener as the Reds strived to pull back the deficit.

But in the end, Atherton ran out deserved winners and go above Colne in the table, though the Reds have a game in hand.

On Saturday, Colne won 2-0 at home to Eccleshall to go through to the semi-final of the Men United Cup.

Eccleshall had the first real opportunity on 15 minutes when Oliver Jepson forced a good save from Thompson.

But Colne might have taken the lead three minutes later when Kenny Taylor burst into the area and was denied by keeper Spencer Martin.

The Reds had better luck after 20 minutes when Tom Berwick’s shot took a deflection off a defender and finished in the bottom corner to give the Reds the lead.

Eccleshall began the second half in determined mood, but when Jordan Elcock’s free kick fell to Jepson in the goalmouth, Alex Coleman made a vital clearance from the goal-line to preserve the Reds’ lead.

At the other end, Jason Hart saw his free kick blocked and brought an athletic save from Martin on the hour.

Colne stepped up the pressure , and after 75 minutes, Adam Stockdale made progress down the right, and his inch perfect cross was headed home at the far post by Bond to double the Reds lead.

Colne will be at home to AFC Blackpool in the semi-final on a date to be decided.

Colne travel to Runcorn Town tomorrow before they welcome Barnoldswick Town on Tuesday night.

DAVE PRIESTLEY