Reds lost in the mist

Mark Threlfall holds off the Barnoldswick defence.
Mark Threlfall holds off the Barnoldswick defence.
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COLNE had a disappointing week as they slipped to two defeats.

Saturday saw late heartbreak as the Reds went down 2-1 at Runcorn Linnets to an injury time goal.

But Nigel Coates’ men lost their way in the mist at the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday night in a 2-0 defeat against Maine Road.

Colne had beaten Maine Road little more than a month ago, and the Reds made a bright start with Danny Boyle testing visiting keeper Greg Hall early on with a good shot.

And on 10 minutes Colne were denied by the woodwork when Hall was unable to hold on to Joe Garvin’s powerful shot, and Micky Woodvine fired the loose ball against the post from close range.

Further pressure from the Reds saw more saves from Hall and a vital tackle by Neil Chappell in his own goalmouth to deny Mark Threlfall (pictured) the opening goal.

But Maine Road looked dangerous on the counterattack and Matthew Huntley wasted a great chance by shooting across the face of the Colne goal when in the clear.

The Reds had a let-off on the half hour when Rory Breslin saw his 20-yard shot strike the left hand post and rebound across the face of goal and out for a goal kick with the Colne defence helpless to clear the ball.

With half-time approaching, a Garvin inswinging corner found the back of the visitors’ net but the goal was disallowed for pushing in a crowded goalmouth.

The second half began at a hectic pace with some end-to-end play, but it was the visitors who made the breakthrough after 53 minutes when Thomas Bentham fired a low diagonal shot from the right of the penalty area into the far corner of the net.

Colne had a great chance to draw level when Garvin’s corner found Billy Priestley at the near post, but he powered his header wide of goal.

Maine Road looked for a second goal, and Chris Thompson made a succession of good saves to keep out shots by Huntley and Andrew Kilheeney.

Sam Hayes looked sure to score with a far post header from a diagonal free kick, but the keeper’s fingertips turned the ball away at the vital moment as Colne desperately looked for an equaliser.

And, as play switched to the other end, the Reds conceded a second goal on 85 minutes.

A cross from the right wing was headed against his own bar by Dominic Craig, and the rebound fell to Bentham who fired home from close range to seal victory for Maine Road.

On Saturday, Colne were cruelly beaten at Runcorn after a battling display in which the Reds had fought hard to deserve a share of the spoils.

In the opening stages, Colne controlled the play and a neutral could have been forgiven for thinking they were the home side.

After only three minutes, a ball to Boyle on the right wing drew Linnet’s keeper Damien Eastham out of his goal, and he was fortunate when Threlfall’s shot was blocked in the goalmouth by his defenders, before Mark Coyne shot over the bar from the rebound.

Two minutes later, Craig’s run was blocked off on the edge of the penalty area but Garvin’s free kick was deflected by defenders for a corner.

Boyle broke into the penalty area after eight minutes from a flick-on by Threlfall, but Eastham got a hand to the ball as Boyle attempted to take it past him.

Colne continued to dominate the game and create a series of promising moves, and after 20 minutes Craig’s close range shot was deflected inches past the post after Boyle’s cross had been headed down in the goalmouth by Coyne.

The Reds at last made the breakthrough after 22 minutes when Coyne controlled Garvin’s diagonal ball at the far post before shooting into the roof of the net to give Colne the lead.

Four minutes later, Threlfall blasted an angled shot over the bar after creating himself space in the penalty area to the right of goal.

But after 29 minutes Runcorn hit back when a high ball over the Reds defence gave Paul Prescott the chance of a run on goal and, although Priestley forced him to the bye-line, he still managed to provide a cross which Matthew Atherton headed home to level the scores.

The goal lifted Runcorn, who began to look more dangerous but the sides went in level at 1-1 at half time.

The second half was a closely fought affair, as both sides battling for supremacy.

Colne had chances to regain the lead, especially midway through the half when Coyne’s curling cross beat the keeper but just eluded Micky Woodvine at the far post, before Boyle skimmed the top of the crossbar with a 20-yard volley.

But with the game two minutes into injury time, disaster struck when the Reds defence was caught out by a through ball which sent Atherton racing clear to fire home a low shot for Runcorn’s late winner.

The Reds will hope to bounce back when they travel to Flixton tomorrow, kick-off 3 p.m., before another away fixture at Bacup Borough next Wednesday night, kick-off 7-45 p.m.

DAVE PRIESTLEY