Colne FC win twice to boost play-off hopes in Evo-Stik West Division

Ollie Wood celebrates scoring the winner against Skelmersdale United midweek
Ollie Wood celebrates scoring the winner against Skelmersdale United midweek
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Colne moved nearer the play-offs with an emphatic win at Colwyn Bay on Saturday followed up with a home win against West Division strugglers Skelmersdale United.

Despite going a goal down early on, the Reds bounced back with five goals to clinch a well-earned three points.

Colwyn Bay had the better of the early exchanges and Craig Pritchard caused problems for the Reds defence, with his darting runs forcing good clearances from the Colne area by Alex Coleman.

After 16 minutes, Colne fell behind when a corner kick was played high to the far post and headed home by Ashley Woods to give Colwyn Bay the lead.

Colne looked for a reply, and after 25 minutes a period of pressure led to the equaliser when Matty Morgan’s diving header was blocked by the keeper, and Reece Webb-Foster fired the loose ball into the roof of the net from close range to level the scores at 1-1.

The Reds pressed forward with further attacks, and after 33 minutes took the lead when Webb-Foster’s cross from the right wing was deflected past the keeper by Will Bell for an own goal.

Six minutes later, Simon Nangle won the ball in midfield and found Morgan on the right wing, whose low cross was forced home by Ollie Wood to put Colne 3-1 up.

The Reds needed to resist a short period of pressure before half-time when Hakan Burton made a great save from Pritchard’s shot, and Coleman blocked the follow-up in the goalmouth to deny the home side.

Colne made a lively start to the second half, and after 50 minutes increased their lead when Wood headed home Morgan’s cross to put the Reds 4-1 up.

Two minutes later, the Reds made it five when Webb-Foster’s run through the middle set up Morgan for a shot past the keeper as Colne turned on the style.

Colwyn Bay responded with some good attacks and pulled a goal back on the hour when Woods blocked a clearance on the edge of the Colne area and fired home to reduce the deficit to 5-2.

The home side continued to look for a way to stage a recovery as Lassana Mendes forced a good save from Burton with a goal-bound shot, and Danny Andrews created openings for Colwyn Bay.

But Colne defended strongly and threatened with good breaks at the other end as Waqas Azam gave them fresh impetus in the midfield and ran out comfortable winners at the final whistle.

Colne then stayed in touch with the leading pack in the Evo-Stik West with a narrow win against Skelmersdale United at the Sovereign Play Stadium on Tuesday night.

Despite their lowly league position, Skelmersdale gave the Reds a run for their money and the game was on a knife edge until Oliver Wood broke the deadlock with 12 minutes remaining.

In the opening stages, the visitors looked shaky, but their central striker Joel Douglas tested the Reds defence with a header just over the bar.

But at the other end, the Reds threatened to take an early lead when Brad Lynch’s searching cross threaded its way across the goalmouth, just needing a touch.

Then Lynch cut in from the left wing and forced a good save from Ryan Kirkman with a well-struck shot.

Colne keeper Hakan Burton was quick to race from his area and clear the danger after 17 minutes as Liam Wood chased a through ball. But in the end-to-end play, Matty Morgan’s cross was hacked clear from the Skelmersdale goalmouth, and Reece Webb-Foster’s diagonal ball found Lynch in front of goal, but unable to turn past defenders.

Colne successfully defended a series of corners by the visitors and then created a great chance with a corner of their own when Andy Hollins headed down at the far post for Simon Nangle, but Kirkman got down bravely to block the ball at his feet.

As the second half began, a cross by Lynch from the left looked destined for the head of Wood at the far post, but Skem centre half Tommy Lent made a vital header.

And as Colne continued to press, a long throw by Lee Pugh found Webb-Foster in the area but his shot on the turn flew over the bar.

Burton was called into action as Skelmersdale created some good chances, while Matty Corness missed two opportunities.

After 78 minutes, a Waqas Azam free kick was half cleared from the Skelmersdale area and Pugh took the ball forward again, hurdling several challenges before the ball ricocheted wide to Wood, who drove a shot into the bottom corner for what proved to be the winner.

DAVE PRIESTLEY