Ten-man Colne maintain push for play-off places

Connor Gaul was a big influence for the Reds
Connor Gaul was a big influence for the Reds

Colne showed great character when they shrugged off the setback of having a man sent off early against Goole at Holt House on Saturday, as they earned a convincing win.

The play-off chasing Reds got off to a good start, with Connor Gaul repeatedly opening up the visitors’ defence, creating a series of chances.

Colne's new keeper Greg Hartley

Colne's new keeper Greg Hartley

His performance throughout the game would have a strong influence on the final result.

After nine minutes, a great run by Gaul took him into the Goole penalty area to the left of goal, and his low cross was fired home by Philip Dean from close range to give the Reds the lead.

As Colne pushed forward with more attacks, Adam Morning stretched the visitors’ defence with some excellent right wing forays and left foot shots to test the keeper.

But the Reds were reduced to 10 men after 20 minutes when Dean was sent off for retaliation on a Goole defender in the visitors’ goalmouth.

Lee Pugh is scythed down in a Colne attack

Lee Pugh is scythed down in a Colne attack

Colne regrouped but could not find the same penetration with a man missing up front.

As Goole looked to cash in on their numerical advantage, the Reds’ debutant keeper Greg Hartley saw more of the action and coped admirably with some high balls, ably assisted by his defence.

And Alex Coleman made a vital headed clearance to keep out Nathan Modest’s shot in a Goole attack.

Colne’s overlapping wingback Lee Pugh was scythed down by Alex Varley in a promising raid on the left wing, earning the Goole defender a yellow card, but the resulting free kick was cleared from the visitors’ goalmouth.

Connor Gaul takes on the Goole defence

Connor Gaul takes on the Goole defence

And at the other end, Hartley made a double save to deny Derry Robson as he tried to lob the ball over him on the follow up.

The second half began with the game in the balance, but after 55 minutes, Colne caught the visitors on the break.

As Goole pushed forward, Gaul won the ball in midfield and released Morning for a run on goal, and he finished with a confident shot past the keeper to double the Reds’ lead.

From the restart, a Goole attack gave Devonte Morton an opening in the Reds’ penalty area, but his measured lob dropped inches over the bar at the far corner of goal.

And Colne went further ahead on the hour when a good right wing move resulted in Gaul being chopped down just outside the area.

Morning’s free kick found the far corner of the net through a crowded six-yard box, with Gaul distracting the defenders, for a 3-0 lead.

With the Reds well and truly in the driving seat, they added a fourth goal on 65 minutes when Michael Morrison headed home a corner kick from close range.

Colne brought on fresh legs from the substitutes’ bench, with Chris Lynch, Jordan Southworth and Chris Anderson all making useful contributions in the closing stages.

The Reds defence held firm, with Mark Ayres and Coleman looking solid at the back whilst Gaul and Pugh forced great saves from the keeper as they might have extended Colne’s lead even further.

Tomorrow Colne are at Home to Burscough, kick-off 3 p.m.

DAVE PRIESTLEY

l Following the unexpected departure of goalkeeper Paul Phillips following the game at Brighouse Town last Saturday, Steve Cunningham has secured Gregory Hartley from Salford City on a dual signing until the end of the season.

Hartley, 26, won the FA Youth Cup with Manchester City in 2008 alongside Ben Mee and Kieran Trippier, and recently signed for Salford City while awaiting international clearance following a spell in the USA with Chattanooga FC in the NPSL.