Colne maintained their 100% record with a hard-fought 1-0 win against newly-promoted Widnes at the Sovereign Play Stadium on Saturday, a result that took them to second place in the league after four games.
Steve Cunningham’s young players will have gained valuable experience against some older and more seasoned campaigners in the Widnes side, while the Reds’ stalwart defenders Lee Pugh, Alex Coleman and Jonathan Hodgkinson kept a clean sheet with a solid display.
In the opening minutes, Widnes looked the more dangerous as Ben Hodkinson saw his shot deflected wide, before Coleman made a vital interception to cut out Ben Cartwright’s cross.
But the Reds might have taken the lead after four minutes when Alex Curran and Connor Hughes exchanged passes, before Widnes keeper Richard Mottram claimed the ball at Curran’s feet.
Colne came close again after 16 minutes when Hughes cut in from the right and hit a left foot shot that beat Mottram but skimmed the bar.
Colne continued to push forward, but were continually caught off-side and Widnes were a constant threat, with Kevin Towey making dangrerous runs and Dale Korie-Butler forcing a good save from Hakan Burton with a hard low shot.
With half-time approaching, the Reds forced a series of corners and free kicks as they pushed the visitors back, and they began the second half in attacking mode.
Four minutes after the interval, Colne made the breakthrough when Hughes’ through ball found Brad Lynch in the area and Mottram’s tackle only cleared it as far as Reece Webb-Foster, who drove an angled shot into the net to give the Reds the lead.
Colne looked for a second goal, and on the hour Curran robbed Cartwright just outside the area, but the defender managed to recover and win the ball.
As Colne got some good attacks together, they created more chances, but were unable to find a good finish for a second goal that would have made the game safe, while at the other, Coleman headed high crosses clear while Pugh made a great tackle to stop Towey as he made a run into the area.
With 15 minutes left the Reds were reduced to ten men when Hodgkinson received his second yellow card for his challenge on the Widnes keeper but Colne reorganised and played out the game comfortably.
Tomorrow, Colne are at home to Hyde United in the Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round, kick-off 3 p.m., before they travel to Droylsden on Tuesday, kick-off 7-45 p.m.