Hart ready for top of table clash

Ben Wharton rises above the Bootle defence
Ben Wharton rises above the Bootle defence

Colne’s leading scorer Jay Hart as described the top-of-the-table clash with Runcorn Linnets as the biggest game in the club’s history.

The Reds are currently five points behind the league leaders with a game in hand meaning victory could hand them the advantage in the race for the title.

“In my eyes it’s the biggest game that Colne will ever play,” said Hart, who has netted 31 times in all competitions this term.

“In a league where only one team can be promoted it’s a matter of getting the three points and closing the gap on Runcorn Linnets to put the pressure on them.”

The striker, who is only three goals shy of Linnets’ Ryan Cox, the division’s most prolific forward, added: “At this point it’s hard to say whether it’ll be a title decider because football is a funny game and bizarre things could happen between now and May 7th.

“We hope to see plenty of people at the ground showing their support and being our 12th man.”

Kick off at the XLCR Stadium tomorrow is 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, after missing two penalties in a 3-2 defeat at Bootle on Saturday, Colne bounced back with a well deserved 3-1 win at Abbey Hey on Tuesday night.

Colne made the breakthrough after 22 minutes when Ben Wharton released Joel Melia to the right of goal, and his shot found the net inside the far post past a helpless Jonathan McIlwaine.

But the Reds conceded an equaliser two minutes before half-time when a corner kick was turned in at the near post by George Noon.

After 67 minutes, the Reds regained the lead when Wharton’s shot was parried by McIlwaine, and Simon Nangle fired home the loose ball from close range.

And in injury time, a throw in from Lee Pugh sent Danny Boyle on a diagonal run across the area, and his shot on the turn found the bottom corner of the net.

On Saturday, Colne paid the penalty for two missed spot kicks at Bootle.

It was no real surprise when Bootle took the lead after 39 minutes when Colne keeper Tony Aghayere could only block a hard cross-shot, and Joe Peacock knocked home the rebound.

The Reds were presented with an opportunity to level the scores just five minutes later when Chris Anderson was brought down in the penalty area, but Jay Hart’s spot kick was kept out by a great save from Ryan Jones.

And the home side doubled their lead within a minute when Tom Peterson saw his shot come back off the post, and Michael Ordish fired home the rebound.

On the hour, Steven Hoy stretched Bootle’s lead further when he found the top corner of the net with a great diagonal shot that gave Aghayere no chance.

The Reds reduced the arrears when Pugh found the bottom corner with a shot through a crowded penalty area.

And two minutes later, Wharton got behind the Bootle defence and his cross from the bye-line was knocked in by substitute Spencer Jordan to bring Colne within touching distance at 3-2 after 66 minutes.

And in injury time, Dom Craig was tripped in the penalty area, but again Jones was Bootle’s hero as he made another excellent save to keep out Dean Stott’s spot kick and deny Colne any reward from the game.

Remaining fixtures: Runcorn Linnets (h), Atherton Collieries (h), Ashton Athletic (h), Winsford United (a), Bootle (h), AFC Liverpool (a), Cammell Laird 1907 (h), West Didsbury & Chorlton (h), 1874 Northwich (a).