COLNE made it four wins in a row on Easter Monday with a 1-0 victory over Silsden at the XLCR Stadium.
The Reds controlled the game in the first half, but could not make the breakthrough.
Ted Cockett, back in the side after injury, soon made his presence felt, linking with Neil Stansfield and supplying dangerous crosses into the opposition goalmouth. But after 13 minutes, Mark Coyne received a leg injury when he collided with the advertising boards on the bye-line and took no further part in the game.
Colne forced a series of corners, and Billy Priestley’s close range header was deflected wide by Danny Husband after 15 minutes. Kieran Demaine brought a good save from ex-Colne keeper James Mann with a well-struck low shot from just outside the area on the half hour, and Ben Bridson’s powerful diagonal shot shaved the top of the Silsden crossbar minutes later.
As Colne were doing almost all of the attacking, a goal seemed inevitable, but Silsden almost took a shock lead after 38 minutes when Michael Garrod made a run on the left wing and forced the ball across the Reds’ penalty area, where two visiting strikers failed to make contact in the slippery conditions.
On the stroke of half-time, Sam Hayes came close for Colne when his shot in the visitors’ goalmouth was blocked and then cleared by Danny McNulty.
As the second half began, Thomas Marshall forced a great save from Chris Thompson, palming away his diagonal shot in the Colne goalmouth. And five minutes later, Thompson again denied Marshall with a save at the near post.
But as play swung to the other end, Hayes found space in the penalty area, but Mann came out to block his shot and clear the ball. But in Colne’s next attack, Stansfield provided a cross from the right which was flicked through by Bridson for Danny Boyle in the area, and the Silsden defenders brought him down to give the Reds a penalty.
Andy Tinker converted the spot kick with a shot into the bottom corner to give Colne the lead on 55 minutes.
Silsden came back strongly, and Thompson was soon in action, pushing a Joe Gaughan shot around the post. Within minutes, Thompson made an incredible point blank save to block Garrod’s close range shot when the Silsden striker looked a certain scorer as he met a low cross at the far post.
Colne worked hard to keep out the threat of their resurgent visitors, with Steve Pickup, Priestley and Cockett prominent in the defence.
And, in the closing stages, the Reds again pushed forward, with Tinker holding the ball up front and creating chances for a second goal.
In the final minute, Jimmy Crorken’s goalbound free kick was pushed round the post by Mann to keep the score at 1-0 in a closely fought encounter.
On Saturday, Colne grabbed a last minute winner in a seven-goal thriller at Ashton Athletic.
In an end-to-end game, the Reds took the lead after only six minutes when Danny Boyle shot into the roof of the net after exchanging passes with Mark Threlfall. But within a minute, Ashton drew level when ex-Colne striker Lee Barrett broke clear at the other end and found the bottom corner of the Colne net with a shot past Chris Thompson.
Two minutes later, Andy Tinker’s searching cross was knocked away from under the crossbar of the home goal by keeper Matthew Calvert as Colne again pushed forward, and Threlfall blasted a shot over the goal from inside the area after good work by Neil Stansfield.
Ashton looked dangerous on the break with Barrett’s strong running, and Danny Smith brought a good save from Thompson with his goalbound shot after 35 minutes.
But Colne built a series of good attacks throughout the half, and regained the lead just before half-time when Luke McVarish was brought down just inside the area by James Cotton, and Andy Tinker converted the spot kick with a confident shot into the bottom corner.
As the second half began, Ashton hit back with their first attack when Barrett again broke clear and slotted the ball past Thompson for the equaliser at 2-2. Ten minutes later Ashton took the lead when Barrett’s through ball sent Ben Allen clear to score their third goal with a low diagonal shot.
As Ashton again pushed forward, Colne conceded a free kick just outside the area and Thompson needed to make a good save to keep Len Reid’s shot out of the bottom corner.
But the Reds fought hard to get back into the game and were rewarded after 75 minutes when Jimmy Crorken cut inside and unleashed a 25 yard shot into the roof of the Ashton net to bring Colne level at 3-3.
As the game swung from end to end, Ted Cockett made a great run into the home penalty area, but his pass to Threlfall was cut out in the goalmouth, while at the other end, an overhead kick by Smith flew just wide of Thompson’s goal.
But Colne got on top in the closing stages when Threlfall’s shot was deflected just past the top corner of the goal and Ben Bridson’s header was blocked in the goalmouth. And when McVarish was chopped down just outside the penalty area, Crorken fired the free kick into the top corner of the net to seal victory for the Reds.
Colne travel to AFC Liverpool on Saturday (kick-off 3 p.m.) before welcoming Bootle to the XLCR Stadium on Tuesday evening (kick-off 7-45 p.m.)