COLNE and Barnoldswick shared the points in a closely-fought local derby at the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday night, in a game that neither side deserved to lose.
A pitch inspection at lunchtime gave the game the go-ahead, and the ground staff worked all day on the playing surface to ensure there were no problems.
Play swung from end to end throughout the game as both sides tried to gain advantage.
Mark Threlfall’s run into the penalty area in the early stages was halted by a good tackle from former Red Liam Blades, and Mark Coyne’s cross was headed away from the visitors’ goalmouth by Jack Overson in a good spell for Colne.
But, as the game swung back in Barnoldswick’s favour on 20 minutes, Aaron Hollindrake’s driven cross from the bye-line was deflected goalwards by Spencer Jordan, but was cleared off the line by the Colne defence.
And before the danger was cleared, Hollindrake saw his well-struck diagonal shot deflected for a corner.
Eight minutes later, Paul Fildes came close for Barnoldswick with an angled shot into the side netting.
Colne came back strongly, and an inswinging free kick by Danny Boyle on 34 minutes forced a header behind their own goal by the Barnoldswick defence at the expense of a corner, quickly followed by Boyle’s 20-yard shot which flew just wide of the target.
An end-to-end break saw Fildes shoot over the Colne bar after being released by a good through ball, but on the stroke of half-time, Joe Garvin’s free kick found Threlfall in the visitors’ penalty area, but he took too much time and was dispossessed by a good tackle.
Four minutes after the interval, a strong run by Hollindrake took him to the edge of the Colne penalty area, and his shot was turned over the bar by a great save from Chris Thompson. At the other end, Billy Carrington was forced to hack the ball clear from his goalmouth as Coyne threatened to score from Threlfall’s flick on into the area.
After 70 minutes, Hollindrake raced clear on a through ball, but Thompson came out and forced him wide, and his eventual cross was cleared by the Colne defence.
Two minutes later at the other end, pressure from Sam Hayes caused the visitors problems and gave Threlfall a great chance, but his angled shot flew inches over the bar from a slight deflection.
Boyle’s running clearly unsettled the Barnoldswick defence, and, when he was brought down 25 yards from goal, Garvin’s resulting free kick dipped just past the post.
And in a similar incident in the last minute of the game, Andy Tinker’s free kick was deflected wide off the defensive wall.
It was a typical derby game with plenty of tension which caused a plethora of over-hit crosses by both sides which nobody could get on the end of.
But, at the end of the day, both teams will be happy with a draw which was a fair result on the night.
On Saturday, Colne toppled Stone Dominoes with two second half goals in a controlled display at Springbank Park to move up the league. The Reds always had the upper hand, but in the first half their carefully-measured build-up always allowed the home team to defend in numbers.
Mark Coyne looked to have a chance of opening the scoring after 15 minutes when the ball reached him on the edge of the area following excellent work on the left by Micky Woodvine and Danny Boyle, but Stone keeper David Dyson came out quickly to clear the danger.
As play switched to the other end, Garvin cleared the ball from the Colne goalmouth after Ashley Miller had slipped through the Colne defence.
Colne increased the pressure on the half hour mark and Garvin’s cross from the left gave Coyne the opening for a shot which was blocked in the goalmouth. Boyle followed up to shoot wide at the far post. As Colne pushed forward with further attacks, Boyle tested the keeper with a shot from distance before Garvin brought an excellent save from Dyson with a firmly-struck angled shot that the keeper fisted away.
Hayes made a vital tackle on Michael Marren in the Colne penalty area as Stone threatened on the break, but Ashley Higgins continued to create opportunities for the Colne strikers at the other end where Threlfall flashed a shot just wide as half-time approached.
In the second half, the game opened up as Colne stretched Stone’s defence with some longer, more adventurous passing and were soon rewarded. James Crorken’s diagonal ball released Boyle for a run into the area from the right wing but, when the ball was laid back to Dominic Craig, he lifted his shot over.
After 50 minutes, Thompson’s lob over the home defence released Threlfall to give Colne the lead with a shot into the bottom corner of the net. Just one minute later, the score could have been doubled when Boyle broke clear but keeper Dyson got down well to save his shot.
The Reds came close again after 70 minutes when Garvin’s cross found Threlfall at the far post, but both he and Boyle had shots blocked before Coyne shot wide in a hectic goalmouth scramble.
Colne pressed forward but had to thank Thompson for a great save to prevent an equaliser when Steve Allen broke clear on 75 minutes.
But the Reds made the points safe with 10 minutes left when Woodvine’s header sent Coyne racing clear to find the net with a low shot. In the last minute, Dyson made a great save to turn Woodvine’s 25-yard pile driver round the post to deny Colne a third goal.
Colne travel to play Runcorn Linnets on Saturday, before welcoming Maine Road to the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday night, kick-off 7-45 p.m.
• NELSON’s First Division clash at Oldham Town on Tuesday night was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The Blues’ home clash with Cheadle Town on Saturday also fell victim to the weather.
Paul Paynter’s side have now completed one game since November 19th, and they will hope for better luck with the weather at Formby on Saturday.