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Crankshaw hits dramatic late winner at Radcliffe

Ollie Crankshaw in action at Radcliffe
Ollie Crankshaw in action at Radcliffe
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Colne took all three points in a seven-goal thriller at Radcliffe Borough on Tuesday night in a dramatic finish.

The Reds had led 2-0 at half-time, but Radcliffe looked to have snatched a draw with two late goals, before Ollie Crankshaw scored the winner with his second of the night.

Colne went ahead after only seven minutes when Harry Pratt scored his first goal for the club, converting Connor Hughes’ cross after some good work by Alex Curran.

Although the Reds looked to increase their lead with some enterprising attacking moves, Radcliffe threatened on the break, and James Hooper flashed a shot across the Colne goal from a good chance.

Colne almost increased their lead after 22 minutes when Curran had his close range shot blocked by the keeper from a chance created by Simon Nangle.

And five minutes later, the Reds went further ahead when Lee Pugh’s throw from the left wing was worked across the area, and Waqas Azam found Curran with a superb through ball into the area, which he dispatched into the net from close range.

As Colne pressed forward, Crankshaw made a series of dazzling runs, and after 36 minutes he looked sure to add to the Reds’ lead, but his shot across the goal-line flew just wide of the far post.

And Crankshaw forced a good save from home keeper Connor Keane as he again found room in the penalty area just before the interval.

Just four minutes after half-time, the Reds were pegged back when their defence failed to clear the ball from the edge of their area, and Hooper fired home into the bottom corner of the net.

It was Radcliffe’s turn to apply the pressure, and the Colne defence blocked two close range shots on the goal-line in a crowded goalmouth to hold on to their advantage.

But as play swung to the other end, Nangle supplied some great free kicks into the Radcliffe penalty area, and Curran saw his goal-bound shot blocked by the keeper before being scrambled clear by the home defence.

The Reds came close again after 70 minutes when a great run by Curran set up Hughes for a shot that brought an excellent save by Keane to push the ball away from the top corner of his goal.

After 76 minutes, Bradley Knox won the ball in midfield and found Nangle out on the right wing, and his cross to the far post was fired home by Crankshaw to give Colne a 3-1 lead.

But with five minutes remaining, a long diagonal free kick into the Colne goalmouth was headed home by Callum Nicholas to give Radcliffe fresh hope.

And three minutes later, another free kick by the home side found Louis Myers at the far post, where he headed in the equaliser and looked to have earned his side a point.

But in Colne’s next attack, Curran produced another of his defence-splitting runs and set up the chance for Crankshaw to score from close range, for a dramatic winner in an end-to- end battle.

Saturday’s home game with Ossett Albion was postponed due to a frozen pitch covered in snow, but Colne will look to continue in winning form when they face Mossley at the Utility Renewals Stadium tomorrow, with kick-off at 3 p.m.

A team of volunteers, led by Richard Harries has started to clear the drifting snow from the pitch at the Utility Renewals Stadium, and with the rising temperatures, it should ensure that the game will go ahead.

l A new date is to be abnounced for a meeting at Colne Football Club – postponed last Tuesday night – at the Utility Renewals Stadium, to bring supporters of the club up to date with current events both on and off the pitch, including plans for the future development of the club.

The chairman Ryan Haigh, alongside manager Steve Cunningham, are due to attend.

ED LAMBERT