Colne respond well to reclaim top spot

Colne's Jay Hart netted twice from the spot in the 4-0 win over AFC Blackpool
Colne's Jay Hart netted twice from the spot in the 4-0 win over AFC Blackpool

Colne showed character to regain top spot in the NWC Premier Division when responding to the thumping inflicted by Cammell Laird with a 4-0 win over AFC Blackpool.

The Reds got off to a flying start when Jason Hart was brought down by Blackpool keeper Thomas Hunt as he went around him in the penalty area. The striker dusted himself off and converted the resulting spot kick to give the visitors the lead after only two minutes.

Steve Cunningham’s side were clearly in the mood to shrug off the memory of Saturday’s defeat at the North West Construction Stadium and soon added a second goal when Lee Pugh’s interception and Hart’s delivery resulted in Ben Hoskin firing home in the 13th minute.

Colne dominated the play and after 22 minutes an excellent build-up involving Kieran Demaine and Chris Anderson saw Hoskin chopped down from behind in the penalty area. Once again Hart fired home the spot kick to claim his ninth of the season.

Although the Reds were in control, they survived a scare on the half hour when Kurt Willoughby picked up a loose pass and his diagonal shot was cleared off the line by Marc Young with Chris Thompson stranded.

At the other end the home goal led a charmed life as Colne repeatedly opened up the Blackpool defence and Ben Allen was unlucky to see his shot pushed onto the post by the keeper just before half time.

Early in the second half, Hoskin was denied by a good save by Hunt after Anderson’s dazzling dribble. But it was Hoskin who scored Colne’s fourth goal after 57 minutes when he headed home Pugh’s perfectly delivered corner.

Hart was denied a hat trick when he had the ball in the net after 70 minutes as the striker was adjudged to have fouled Hunt. Thompson ensured that he kept a clean sheet with an excellent save in the closing stages to keep out Richard Sears’s well struck shot.

It was a refreshing recovery from the punishment endured three days earlier in Birkenhead when Colne’s unbeaten run was ended in emphatic fashion by the Lairds.

The hosts took the lead after 18 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after the referee spotted a handball inside the area. Jamie Henders gratefully accepted the gift and fired home the spot kick.

The away side had their chances to level the fixture, most notably when Hart saw his shot come back off the post after a good run into the penalty area. Spencer Jordan and Young both headed just over the bar from corners before the interval.

After the break Hart fired wide of the upright on the hour before Chris Anderson shot wide from 12 yards with a clear sight of goal after 73 minutes.

The Reds, though, were up against it when Young was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the 77th minute and the home side capitalised. Craig Cairns did the damage as he netted a hat-trick in the final 10 minutes.

The Reds entertain Congleton tomorrow (kick-off 3 p.m.).