Colne unlucky as they fall to defeat

Neil Stansfield
Neil Stansfield

colne were unlucky to fall to defeat in both their pre-season friendlies over the week.

On Tuesday night, the Reds went down 3-2 at home to Radcliffe Borough, having lost 2-1 at Darwen on Saturday.

Colne put in a good performance against Radcliffe, and were on top for the first hour of the game, but gave away two soft goals and missed a host of chances.

Time and again in the opening stages, Colne got round the back of the visitors’ defence, but low crosses across goal went begging. Ted Cockett was unlucky to see his close range shot deflected wide off a defender after 20 minutes, and Neil Stansfield lifted his effort over the bar from Joe Garvin’s diagonal ball.

But Radcliffe took the lead after 35 minutes when a miskick in the Reds defence presented them with an easy chance to score from close range. Colne levelled the scores just four minutes later when Cockett’s low cross was cleverly backheeled into the net by Stansfield.

Colne were clearly in the ascendancy, and four minutes into the second half took the lead when Cockett and Mark Threlfall combined to give Matt Tindall the chance to send the keeper the wrong way with a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Colne might have increased their lead when Tindall outpaced the visitors’ defence but shot wide from a good chance. And the Reds were made to pay on the hour when an inswinging corner to the near post was punched into his own net by Colne keeper Jamie Scott under pressure.

Although Stansfield immediately forced the visiting keeper into a great save with an angled shot, Radcliffe now began to take a grip of the game and the Reds defence had to soak up some pressure.

After 80 minutes, the visitors scored their third goal with a good move and a confident finish to deny Colne a share of the spoils.

On Saturday at Darwen, a brilliant penalty save by Scott and a penalty scored by Stansfield at the other end could not save Colne from defeat.

In the Reds’ third pre-season friendly, they failed to find any finishing power against a Darwen side who fought all the way to achieve a result.

Colne should have taken the lead in the opening minutes when Joe Garvin’s free kick to the far post only needed a touch, but Steve Pickup was inches away from making contact.

Darwen then settled into their stride and made the most of a free kick to the right of the Colne goal after 25 minutes, which was delivered into the goalmouth and John Leeming had time to control the ball before blasting a shot into the net to give his side the lead.

Sam Morris and Bright Maduka both had shots blocked in the home goalmouth as Colne tried to hit back, but Darwen still looked the more dangerous and Bobby Langford forced Scott to make two good saves after outpacing the Colne defence.

After 35 minutes Karl Turner was brought down in the Colne box, but Scott produced another excellent save to keep out Turner’s spot kick.

As the second half began, Colne applied the pressure but, when a corner was cleared from the home goalmouth, Darwen broke quickly and Langford raced clear to score their second goal on 50 minutes.

Colne got back into the game seven minutes later when Morris was bought down inside the Darwen box and Stansfield scored from the spot to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

On the hour, Darwen were reduced to 10 men when Leeming was sent off.

Colne did most of the attacking in the last half hour, but the nearest they came to a goal was on 85 minutes when a Darwen defender headed the ball against his own post.

Colne’s next friendly is tomorrow when they welcome Chadderton FC to the XLCR Stadium, kick-off 3 p.m.

Then on Tuesday evening they entertain Lancaster City with a 7-30 p.m. kick-off.