COLNE enjoyed a terrific victory on Tuesday night over AFC Blackpool, whose recent good form had lifted them up to third place in the North West Counties Premier Division.
In the opening minutes, Colne had an early scare when James Walker broke clear down the left and crossed to Ben Waddington, but his strike was anticipated by Chris Thompson, who made a confident save.
Then the Reds took the lead on four minutes when Jason Hart cut inside from the left and unleashed an unstoppable shot which Kieran O’Boyle could only parry to Ashley Carter, who blasted home into the roof of the net.
The goal lifted the confidence of the Reds, and a series of chances followed. Anthony McLoughlin’s shot came close. Then Scott Moore played in Hart, but his shot flew over the bar.
And on 25 minutes the Reds increased their lead when James Crorken’s long ball dissected the Blackpool defence, and Mickey Saunders’ first touch set him up for a smart finish into the far corner.
But 10 minutes later Blackpool pulled a goal back when Waddington beat the off-side trap and crossed into the area, and the ball took a deflection into the goal.
In the second half Colne continued to heap pressure on the Blackpool defence. Hart set up a good chance for Crorken but his shot flew over the crossbar. Saunders’ cross to McLoughlin was headed narrowly wide. But on 60 minutes Blackpool drew level when Donnelly’s cross was bundled over the line by Beattie.
Five minutes later the Reds were back in the lead when Chris Bailey floated a delightful ball into the box, and Dominic Craig rose high to guide his header into the top far corner. On 70 minutes the result was settled when Fowler reacted first to head a corner goalwards, and Saunders made sure by hooking the ball over the line.
On Saturday Colne lost 2-1 at current league leaders Bootle, who had only dropped two points from their first six games.
At first it appeared that the result was going to be a formality in Bootle’s favour, but this was not the case, and in fact Colne had chances in the last 10 minutes to upset the form book and return home with all the points.
In truth Bootle could have been out of sight after half an hour but for an outstanding performance by Colne’s goalkeeper Thompson.
In the opening minutes the first chance fell to Neil Prince, but his shot was well saved by Thompson.
Colne replied with a good strike at the other end when Craig’s effort was spilled by Dean Porter, but no one was following in to capitalise on the error.
Then after just seven minutes Colne were unfortunate to lose Ed O’Neil with an injury, replaced by Scott Moore.
After 10 minutes Ashley Carter crossed to Paul Fildes in the area, but Porter was quick to intercept.
A minute later Fildes burst through the middle and was bundled to the ground, but play was waved on.
Thompson then produced a series of excellent saves. The first was from Lee Thompson, who looked suspiciously off-side, but Colne’s appeals were ignored. Bootle then created another chance for Thompson but his namesake was equal to the task. Black then provided an excellent chance for Michael Young, but Thompson bravely saved at his feet.
Then on 40 minutes Colne were awarded a throw-in which Hart received with his back to goal but he spun round and blasted the ball into the bottom corner.
But on the stroke of half-time Bootle drew level when Colne failed to deal with a free kick into the area and Jamie Hay headed home unchallenged at the far post.
In the second half Thompson was soon in action again when he made an excellent save to deny Jak Gray.
And Thompson’s best moment was still to come when Paul Byrne picked out Thompson, but the Reds keeper made an incredible save to prevent a certain goal. But Colne were not out of it yet as Hart’s spectacular volley rebounded off the crossbar and Lloyd Balazs was only denied by a last-ditch tackle.
On 60 minutes Thompson was helpless to prevent Bootle taking the lead when Gray picked out Thompson, who had the time and space to pick his spot and rifle home.
Saunders and Hart combined to create a late chance for Bailey but his shot was blocked. Saunders had another effort well saved before Hart was shown a straight red card with five minutes remaining which virtually ended Colne’s hopes of an equaliser.
On Saturday Colne host Glossop North End at the XLCR Stadium, and on Wednesday they travel to Bacup Borough.
Final Score: Colne 4, AFC Blackpool 2