Understrength Colne carve out welcome draw on the road

Debut goal: Max Jones
Debut goal: Max Jones

On Saturday, Colne carved out a creditable draw with an injury-hit side that once again gave several fringe players their chance of a first team place.

Manager Steve Cunningham was again forced to include himself in the team, which included Galaxy Team players Ben Whitaker and Nathan Gibson, as well as debutant striker Max Jones.

In the opening stages, the Reds defence coped well with some enterprising attacks by the home side, and began to gain a foothold in midfield after the first 15 minutes.

A series of good attacking moves by the Reds looked promising, with Jones involved up front, and he gave Colne the lead after 32 minutes, when a long ball out of defence by Gibson allowed him to force his way through the home defence and beat the keeper with a low shot.

Micky Woodvine broke through shortly after, but Didsbury keeper Ben Simpson was out quickly to hack the ball clear off his toes. And Kieran Demaine saw his curling cross cleared from the six yard box with Cunningham challenging.

Colne were pushed back early in the second half as West Didsbury began to play some good crossfield balls in attacking positions to stretch the defence. And after 48 minutes, Scott Mason met a long cross at the far post but chipped the ball just over.

Five minutes later, another searching cross from the right gave Steve Settle the chance to head in the equaliser at the far post.

As Colne fought back, a through ball released Stevie Cassidy into the area, but he pulled his shot across the face of goal. And further openings created by Jason Hart and Jones failed to produce a finish in front of goal.

The Reds had a close shave after 70 minutes when Cassidy headed an effort off the line following a corner for West Didsbury.

But in the closing stages, Colne pushed for a winner with Hart creating a series of chances and Chris Anderson being denied a penalty when brought down in the area.

Home keeper Simpson saw plenty of action in the final minutes, saving a shot from Hart before fisting away the corner kick under pressure.

But at the other end, it needed a great tackle by Jonathan Hodgkinson to keep the scores level as West Didsbury threatened on the break.

Tomorrow Colne travel to AFC Liverpool for a 3 p.m. kick-off before travelling to Winsford United on Tuesday evening (7-45 p.m.).