Colne missed out on the chance to improve their league position in a typical Roses battle, losing 2-1 against Yorkshire rivals Brighouse on Saturday.
The Reds staged a second half fight-back to draw level with an Ollie Crankshaw penalty, but ultimately went down to an Aaron Martin goal on 80 minutes as Brighouse came forward strongly in the closing stages.
Steve Cunningham was without regulars Oliver Wood, Lee Gaskell, Shiraz Khan and Lee Pugh, and lost the services of striker Sean Miller after only 14 minutes through injury.
The Reds had a let-off after only eight minutes when Rhys Jenkinson’s searching cross from the right wing came back off the far post into the hands of keeper Hakan Burton.
And the Colne defence looked vulnerable to some enterprising Brighouse attacks.
At the other end, Miller looked most likely to trouble the home side with some good runs in the final third, and forced a save from Town keeper Chris Bott with an early shot.
After 18 minutes, a long throw into the home penalty area fell to Danny Wilkins, and his looping shot on the turn was pushed over the crossbar by an athletic save by Bott.
And on the half hour, Alex Curran broke clear on the right of the penalty area but his cross-shot eluded Josh Amis in front of goal.
As play switched to the other end, a Brighouse corner fell invitingly at the far post for Callum Hall, but his shot came back off the woodwork in another escape for the Reds.
Their relief was shortlived however as within a minute, Gabriel Johnson gave Town the lead with a low shot that found the net off the inside of the same post.
Cunningham’s half-time team talk clearly lifted his side, and Colne pushed forward looking for an equaliser, with Wilkins and Matty Morgan providing dangerous crosses into the Town penalty area.
The pressure paid off after 55 minutes when Wilkins’ low cross was scrambled clear from a crowded area, as both Amis and Curran went down under heavy challenges.
The referee awarded a penalty for the foul on Curran, and Crankshaw fired home the resulting spot kick to level the scores at 1-1.
At this stage of the game, Colne held the upper hand and created a series of chances, with Crankshaw opening up the home defence with runs on the left wing and some great inter-passing around the home penalty area.
But the Town goal survived as Crankshaw headed just wide from Wilkins’ cross, and Curran saw his goal bound shot pushed round the post in a great save by Bott.
But Brighouse came back strongly on the break, and only some great defensive tackles by Simon Nangle and Jonathan Hodgkinson prevented potential goals.
With 10 minutes left, the Colne defence were stretched, and Iwan Heeley was given time and room to provide a measured cross into the area for Martin to head home at the far post, for the winning goal for Brighouse.
Colne looked for a second equaliser, but despite forcing a series of corners were unable to create a clear scoring chance, and Brighouse held on firmly for a deserved win.
Tomorrow Colne have no game, and their next game is on Saturday, December 16th when the Reds are at home to Mossley.