Joe Gaughan scored his first goal for the Reds as Colne kept up the pressure on the leading teams in the NWCFL Premier Division with a workmanlike win at Runcorn Town on Saturday.
The Reds held the upper hand in the first half, with the driving rain at their backs, and carved out a series of chances, with Jason Hart and Gaughan threatening to benefit from the industrious midfield, where Simon Nangle and Ben Hoskin drove forward.
Colne opened brightly, forcing corners to threaten the home goal, but as Runcorn counterattacked, Alex Coleman and new signing – former Nelson player George Melling – made good clearances.
Hart’s run and cross created a good shooting opportunity for Nangle, but his well -struck shot hit a defender in the area, and claims for a penalty were waved away by the referee.
Hoskin’s header flew just wide from Lee Pugh’s cross from the left wing and Hart forced an excellent save from the keeper with a firm shot.
As Colne increased the pressure, Hoskin and Nangle both came close to opening the scoring.
And it was no surprise when Colne took the lead after 35 minutes when Gaughan fired home from close range in a crowded goalmouth.
Tony Aghayere, on loan from Burnley, had a confident debut in goal, showing good handling throughout.
Five minutes before the interval, Hart’s run through the middle had Runcorn defenders backpedalling, and when Daniel Toone handled the ball as he fell in the area, the referee awarded a penalty.
Hoskin fired home the spot kick to double Colne’s lead.
In the second half, conditions underfoot worsened as the pitch became heavier but the Reds dug deep as Runcorn fought to stage a comeback.
Aghayere made a good save low down to hold on to a shot by Sam Houghton and Toone fired a free kick just over.
At the other end, home keeper Danny Lever foiled Hart with a good save at the near post and saw Gaughan’s shot fly wide of his goal.
After 85 minutes, Paul Shanley’s free kick to the far post was headed back across goal and knocked away from under the bar by Marc Young’s hand to give Runcorn a penalty, and Shanley fired home the spot kick.
But the Reds played out the remaining five minutes to secure the three points.