Maine Road 4, Colne 1

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AFTER an excellent mid-week performance against league leaders New Mills and on the back of a recent unbeaten run of four games Colne came crashing back down to earth when they were convincingly beaten by Maine Road who have also recorded some creditable results of late.

The Reds got off to a terrible start when they conceded a goal in the first minute when Declan O’Shea unleashed an unstoppable rocket of a shot into the top far corner from 25 yards.

But one minute later Colne looked certain to equalise when Mark Threlfall broke through the middle and was only denied by the body of Andy Jones who threw himself at the striker’s feet. Danny Boyle then worked an opening but his shot nestled into the side-netting.

On quarter-of-an-hour Jamie Scott made an excellent save tipping Matt Huntley’s effort over the bar and five minutes later he had to be alert to turn Rob Brocklehurst’s shot around the post.

Then on the half-hour the Reds drew level when Steve Cunningham slipped the ball inside the full back and Boyle nipped in and calmly finished after rounding the keeper.

The Reds created several other chances before the break with Cunningham coming close with a header and Boyle being denied again by a good save by Jones.

But with the play reverting from end to end Maine Road also created chances of their own with Dilan Lomas and Huntley both coming close from some well delivered corners.

In the second half the Reds were completely over-run by their Manchester counterparts.

Maine Road appeared far more motivated. They were first to the ball and allowed to run unchallenged through the mid-field. Colne looked complacent and waiting for things to happen without making the challenges that had brought them their recent success.

As the game progressed the writing was on the wall when on 70 minutes Scott could only parry Huntley’s shot to Liam Beckford who tucked away the rebound into the near corner.

Five minutes later Ed Wileman increased the lead after a great run straight through the heart of the Colne defence.

Colne’s misery was completed when Huntley was played through the middle and Billy Priestley was red-carded for a late tackle just inside the area. The resulting penalty which was confidently converted by Ed Moran compounded the Reds’ misery and left manager Nigel Coates bemused and disappointed at his side’s poor performance after their recent successes.

On Tuesday Colne travel to St Helens before their visits to Formby on Saturday and Ramsbottom next Tuesday.