COLNE manager Nigel Coates will be hoping for more from his players when they face mid-table Maine Road tomorrow after the Reds suffered two defeats in the space of four days.
Three consecutive away fixtures in the Vodkat Premier Division was always going to be a tough test for Colne, but an astonishing 8-4 victory at St Helens Town set them up well for their run-in.
However, struggling Formby had other ideas on Saturday, and on the quarter-of-an-hour mark the Reds found themselves 1-0 down when David McLaughlin profited from a mix-up from a long punt forward and the ball broke straight to James Robinson for a simple finish at the far post.
The hosts continued to dominate for the remainder of the half but just before the break Neil Stansfield showed good feet to get to the bye-line and squared the ball to Mark Threlfall whose shot was deflected to the back post where Danny Boyle headed home the equaliser.
Then on 53 minutes, against the run of play, Formby launched another long ball forward which was flicked on by McLaughlin; Jamie Scott was down quickly but he could only parry the ball into the path of Robinson for another simple finish.
Minutes later the Reds had the ball in the net when Sam Morris crossed the ball and Boyle finished well only for the goal to be ruled offside.
Colne continued to apply more pressure on the Formby defence. Sam Hayes, James Crorken and Martin Broderick all had good opportunities before Ben Bridson made space for a shot which clipped the Formby crossbar.
In the last minute Colne’s final chance to salvage a point fell to Boyle who was only denied by a brilliant save by the finger-tips of Paul McCavan.
And then it was the turn of second place Ramsbottom United to rub salt in to the wounds as they overturned Colne’s hard-fought 2-1 half-time lead to snatch the three points with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.
The Reds made a great start to the game when Joe Garvin launched a rocket of a free kick into the top far corner after just two minutes.
But 10 minutes later Ramsbottom drew level when Sam Hayes was adjudged to have bundled over Jon Robinson in the area and Lee Gaskell confidently converted the resulting penalty.
The Reds continued to mount pressure on the Ramsbottom defence and exploit the gaps as their wing backs pressed forward and just before half-time Colne took the lead again when James Crorken came out on top of two strong challenges and played in Andy Tinker who rifled home in off the far post from 25 yards.
The second half began evenly but Ramsbottom equalised on 57 minutes when Ryan Moore won a challenge in midfield and raced clear before firing home into the bottom corner. One minute later Phil Dean broke clear down the left and crossed to Moore who slid in his second goal.
And in the 65th minute Moore completed his hat-trick when he was first to react to Dean’s corner and flicked the ball over a helpless Jamie Scott.
With five minutes remaining Threlfall came close to pulling back a goal but for a brilliant save by Shenton and with two minutes left the Reds’ misery was completed when Dean broke clear again and blasted home into the far corner.
Colne are now seventh in the North West Counties Premier League on 61 points with just six games remaining.