Colne win in FA Trophy ahead of biggest day in their history

Lee Pugh is tackled in the Marske penalty area
Lee Pugh is tackled in the Marske penalty area

On Saturday, Colne face one of the biggest days in their history, as they travel to Dunston for the Third Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup – the furthest they have ever gone in the world’s most famous knockout competition.

If they advance, Colne would be within a victory of the First Round proper.

In view of Colne’s successful run in the cup, the Northern Premier League sanctioned the postponement of the league fixture against Trafford on Tuesday, to help preparations.

On Saturday, Colne took the first step on the FA Trophy trail with a close fought win against Marske United at the Sovereign Play Stadium.

Heavy overnight rain forced a 10-30 a.m. pitch inspection, but the game went ahead as the weather improved.

In the opening exchanges, Marske’s Callum Martin made a bad tackle on Joe Coveney on the halfway line, and the referee had no hesitation in producing a red card and reducing the visitors to 10 men after only three minutes.

The Reds pressed forward and after 11 minutes, Andy Hollins headed just wide from Aidan Chippendale’s diagonal free kick, while at the other end, good runs by Louis Johnson and Jack Blackford tested the Colne defence.

After 16 minutes, the Reds came close when Connor Hughes’ cross was headed just wide of his own goal by a defender, and from the corner, Marcus Poscha’s close range shot was cleared off the line.

Ten minutes later, Colne made the breakthrough when Chippendale’s long cross from the left wing fell to Will Harris, who took the ball on before finishing with a well-struck diagonal shot into the bottom corner of the net.

On the half hour, Colne keeper Hakan Burton was called into action to push Lewis Maloney’s 35-yard free kick over his crossbar as Marske looked for an equaliser.

Three minutes later, Sefton Gonzales’ low cross just eluded Hughes in the Marske goalmouth as Colne pressed forward, and the Reds created a series of half chances in the run up to half-time.

Eight minutes into the second half, Colne doubled their lead when Chippendale and Gonzales stretched the visitors with crosses into the penalty area, and the ball fell to Matty Makinson, who forced his way to the bye line before laying the ball back for Hughes to chip home past a despairing Marske defence.

As Colne stepped up the pace, Chippendale’s low cross just eluded Harris with the goal yawning in front of him, and Chippendale flashed a free kick just past the post from 25 yards.

At the other end, Burton made a great point blank save to keep out Liam O’Sullivan’s close range shot after Johnson’s penetrating run.

But Colne looked for a third goal and Marske keeper Jack Norton kept out Hughes’ header with a great save after 65 minutes, before riding his luck five minutes later when Hughes 20-yard free kick clipped the outside of his post.

After 77 minutes, a Marske attack on the left wing had the Colne defence back pedalling, and a low cross into the goalmouth was half cleared, before Andrew Stephenson followed up to fire home from close range and reduce the deficit to 2-1.

Colne pressed forward looking to restore their two-goal cushion and Chippendale and Gonzales both came close with good efforts before Lee Pugh had penalty claims waved aside after being brought down on a run into the penalty area.

But the Reds had done enough to secure their place in the next round, and will look forward to meeting Ramsbottom United at the Riverside on Saturday, October 12th.

DAVE PRIESTLEY