Barnoldswick Town 4, Colne 2
Colne conceded two late goals at Barnoldswick on Tuesday night to come away empty-handed from a game in which they deserved at least a draw.
It was a full-blooded local derby - the sides’ first at this level - with the advantage see-sawing between the two teams, and no quarter given throughout the game.
After an opening period when both sides tested each other out, Colne took the lead on 18 minutes.
Sam Hayes’ third corner in a row picked out Steve Cunningham, and his header flashed across goal and inside the far post.
But the Reds’ lead was short-lived as, two minutes later, a Barnoldswick corner at the other end was headed down in the goalmouth by Jack Overson, and Lewis Jordan blasted the equaliser into the roof of the Colne net.
A controversial goal after 35 minutes gave Barnoldswick the lead.
As Michael Morrison chased a long through ball, he was flagged off-side, but when the Colne defence hesitated, Jordan followed up to blast the ball into the roof of the net, and the referee awarded a goal despite prolonged protests from the Colne players.
To their credit, Colne fought back and grabbed an equaliser before half-time.
After 41 minutes, Joe Garvin’s diagonal ball into the penalty area was dispatched into the top corner of the net with a precise header by Hayes.
In the second half, Colne appeared to gain the upper hand, but Barnoldswick defended in depth to deny any clear chances.
James Crorken saw his shot deflected just wide of the home goal off a defender’s body, and Hayes saw his angled shot flash just wide after turning past the home defence.
But former Red Liam Blades troubled the Colne defence when he found space on the edge of the area and grazed the top of the crossbar with a dipping shot.
As the tension increased in the closing stages, a bad tackle by a Barnoldswick player resulted in a fracas, and Cunningham received his second yellow card for his involvement, reducing Colne to 10 men for the last five minutes.
Michael Cruz looked to have a great chance to win it for Colne, but was cynically chopped down as he broke through the home defence, and, in Colne’s next attack, they seemed sure to score as the ball bounced around in the home goalmouth, but the final shot was wide of the post.
Barnoldswick are renowned for their late surges, however, and sure enough, on 89 minutes Aaron Hollindrake put them in front with a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area.
As Colne threw everyone forward in injury time in search of an equaliser, Barnoldswick took advantage of a quick break, and, although Jamie Scott made a good save to keep out the initial shot, former Nelson man Robbie Smith followed up to tap home their fourth goal to complete a flattering win.
Colne will look to bounce back tomorrow when they entertain Stone Dominoes at the XLCR Stadium, kick-off 3 p.m., before another home game on Tuesday night against Glossop North End, kick-off 7-45 p.m.