COLNE had to settle for a point against a resilient Norton United at the XLCR Stadium on Saturday.
The Reds started well and an angled shot by Jason Hart had visitors keeper Richard Brandon scrambling to push it round the post in the opening stages.
Mark Coyne (pictured) had a clear sight of goal after 11 minutes when Dominic Craig found him with his pass after a strong run down the middle but Coyne’s shot brought another save from Brandon.
After 20 minutes, Coyne’s pressure on the visitors defence produced a chance for Hart and his well struck shot flew just past the far post.
But the alarm bells started ringing after 22 minutes when Norton had the ball in the net only to be denied by an offside flag.
Ten minutes later, Daniel Brown outpaced the home defence and forced Colne keeper Chris Thompson to fingertip his shot round the post.
From the corner, Niall Green’s header was headed off the goal-line by Reds defender Ben Hoskin and within minutes Thompson needed to block another close range shot from Brown to keep his side in the game and the scores level at half-time.
In the second half, Colne got on top and pinned the visitors back in their own half for long periods but failed to find the target from a string of opportunities.
After 51 minutes, Paddy O’Brien’s 25-yard shot was pushed round the post by Brandon and four minutes later, Craig’s cross to the far post was headed across the face of goal by Ed O’Neill.
Norton’s Lee Talbot looked dangerous on the break but Rick Winstanley made a vital tackle to halt a dangerous run and Thompson made an outstanding point-blank save to deny the same player when he was clean through after 77 minutes.
Nigel Coates made a triple substitution in an effort to make the breakthrough but the visitors defended in numbers and denied the Reds any clear sights of goal.
Colne came close to a winning goal when O’Brien’s corner was cleared off Coyne’s toes in the goalmouth and Neil Harries followed up to blast the ball inches over the crossbar.
Colne travel to meet AFC Blackpool tomorrow with a 3 p.m. kick-off, before welcoming Silsden to the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday evening with a 7-45 p.m. kick-off.
FINAL SCORE: Colne 0, Norton United 0
Colne Reserves went down in a six-goal thriller in the Lancashire Galaxy League at the XLCR Stadium on Monday night.
Second in the table Ashton Athletic made an impressive start to the game and took the lead after eight minutes when Martin Jackson met a corner kick at the near post to send his header into the roof of the net.
The visitors caused Colne problems in midfield with their turn of speed and doubled their lead after 22 minutes.
Chris Taylor outpaced the home defence with his run into the penalty area, and his low cross was fired into the bottom corner of the net by Jake Patton.
But the Reds reduced the deficit on 26 minutes when Ryan Brereton’s free kick caused panic in the visitors’ goalmouth before Jimmy Crorken found the net with a shot through a crowd of defenders.
Colne pushed forward looking for an equaliser but were caught out after 38 minutes when Mason Ryan hit a shot on the turn that beat the keeper at his near post to stretch Ashton’s lead to 3-1.
On the stroke of half-time, the Reds pressed forward again and grabbed a second goal when Chris Baron headed home a corner from close range.
In the second half, Colne forced the pace and looked like getting an equaliser with a series of attacks.
But the visitors defended determinedly and Rusty Russell came closest when his header came back off the bar after 71 minutes.
In the closing stages, Ashton made the points safe in a rare attack. A free kick into the Colne penalty area was half cleared and Michael Downing hooked the ball over his shoulder and into the far corner of the net to give his side a 4-2 victory.
FINAL SCORE: Colne Reserves 2, Ashton Athletic Res 4