COLNE got back to winning ways with a hard fought victory over Runcorn Linnets at the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Reds were made to battle all the way by a tough uncompromising Linnets side who had beaten them by a narrow margin just over two weeks previously.
The pattern of the game was similar to many recent ones as Colne took control in the first half in a high energy attacking display. Sam Hayes’ running up front caused the visitors problems and Joe Garvin’s accurate inswinging corners always looked likely to produce a goal.
Kieran Demaine tested keeper Richard Mottram on several occasions as the Reds pressed home their advantage but, at the other end, Kevin Towey headed a free kick just wide of the near post of the Colne goal as Runcorn briefly threatened.
Colne took the lead after 28 minutes when Garvin squeezed a low cross from the bye-line to the near post where Hayes challenged the keeper and the ball ran free to Micky Woodvine who found the net with a low shot from 10 yards.
As the Reds pushed forward, Garvin saw his corner headed out of the six-yard box and seized upon the loose ball to drive in a hard low shot that the keeper struggled to hold onto in a crowded penalty area. Minutes later Hayes won the ball in a challenge on the keeper and his shot looked destined for the top corner until a defender got back to head it clear. Then Mottram did well to save at Hayes’ feet after Mark Threlfall had headed the ball down in the goalmouth.
But after 38 minutes, the Reds gave the ball away in midfield and Runcorn’s Ross Lloyd provided a through ball for Matthew Atherton who chipped the ball over Chris Thompson and into the roof of the net to level the scores.
And three minutes later, Atherton again broke clear but this time Thompson came out on top with an excellent save.
Colne began the second half on the attack but were given a warning after 53 minutes when Adam Wade slipped through the home defence and forced a one-handed save from Thompson to turn his shot round the post.
After 62 minutes, Garvin’s ball down the left was skilfully flicked on by Hayes and released new signing Ashley Carter who kept his cool and went round the keeper before slotting the ball home from a narrow angle to give Colne the lead on his debut.
Runcorn came back strongly and tested the Reds defence. William Webb hit the post of the Colne goal from close range after 76 minutes and the same player saw his shot strike the top of the crossbar before going behind on 85 minutes.
But the Reds were determined not to let the points slip and fought every inch of the way in a nail-biting finish.
On Saturday, an avalanche of goals in the closing stages only just failed to give Colne a share of the points against Runcorn Town at the XLCR Stadium in a 4-3 defeat.
The Reds dominated the opening period and Kieran Demaine saw his low shot saved on the line after Mark Threlfall had laid on the chance, before Jimmy Crorken finished a good build up by shooting just over the bar from 20 yards out.
Paul Shanley made a good break for Runcorn into the home penalty area but found the Colne defence in an uncompromising mood as he was stopped by a strong tackle.
And at the other end, Threlfall saw his diagonal shot turned round the post by a good save from Karl Wills in the Runcorn goal before Sam Hayes flashed a firm header just over the bar from the resulting corner.
Runcorn central defender Daniel Dalton was inches wide of the home goal with a far post header and Chris Thompson got down well to save Jason Carey’s shot after a strong run just before half time.
But Colne again looked threatening with a series of good balls into the visitors’ penalty area just before the interval.
The second half continued in similar vein with Dominic Craig and Joe Garvin making vital tackles in the Colne defence whilst it was Garvin and Demaine supplying a series of good crosses into the visitors’ goalmouth at the other end.
The Reds had matched their opponents in every department until 56 minutes when Hayes sliced the ball into the top corner of his own net while trying to clear a dangerous cross to give Runcorn the lead.
Colne fought back and grabbed a deserved equaliser after 77 minutes when Demaine drove in an inswinging corner kick which visiting keeper Wills could only help into his own net.
But five minutes later Runcorn regained the lead when a half-clearance by the Colne defence fell to Gareth Grant who volleyed home a low shot from 20 yards through a crowded penalty area.
Runcorn went further ahead on 84 minutes when Shanley broke clear and finished with a diagonal shot into the far corner of the net.
The game looked to be all over when Emini Adegbenro added a fourth goal for Runcorn with a good solo run and finish after 87 minutes.
But Colne reduced the arrears two minutes into injury time when Ben Bridson blasted an unstoppable shot into the roof of the visitors net from Ryan Brereton’s measured pass.
And a minute later, it was Bridson who provided the cross for Micky Woodvine to score at the near post and take the Reds to within a goal of their opponents.
Unfortunately the final whistle denied Colne any further opportunities when they seemed to have found their scoring touch.
Colne travel to Runcorn Town on Saturday, kick-off 3 p.m. before welcoming AFC Blackpool to the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday evening, kick-off 7-45 p.m.