Reds miss out on play-offs on goal difference on the last day

Waqas Azam scores Colne's goal at South Shields
Waqas Azam scores Colne's goal at South Shields
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Colne missed out on a play-off slot on goal difference after a last-day 2-1 defeat at a South Shields side celebrating winning the league in front of a crowd of more than 2,000.

The Reds were edged out of seventh place by Tadcaster Albion as they were unable to find an equaliser in a second half which they dominated.

South Shields began the game in confident mood and dominated possession in the first half.

The Colne defence were tested, but coped well, with keeper Hakan Burton taking a series of high balls in his goalmouth.

At the other end, Matty Morgan shot just wide from just outside the area after 15 minutes, and Alex Curran brought a great save from Shields keeper Liam Connell with his 20-yard shot on the half hour.

But the Colne goal came under pressure when a Shields corner was not cleared from the goalmouth, and Lee Mason fired home the loose ball in the ensuing scramble to give the home side the lead on 32 minutes.

The Reds had hardly recovered from the blow when Carl Finnigan weaved his way into the penalty area and beat Burton with a well-placed shot to double Shields lead on 34 minutes.

Colne dug in to withstand further pressure and struck back just before the interval.

Waqas Azam’s free kick took a deflection and went through the legs of Connell and rolled over the goal-line to reduce the deficit, and put the Reds back in the game on 41 minutes.

Colne emerged for the second half in a positive mood and pushed forward at every opportunity.

They created a series of chances as Curran shot across the face of goal, and Azam shot wide of the near post from close range in the opening minutes.

As play swung to the other end, Robert Briggs saw his shot cleared from the Colne goalmouth, and Burton needed a good save to keep out Jamie Holmes’ shot.

But as Colne pushed forward in the later stages, looking for the equaliser they needed to get them into the play-offs, Ollie Crankshaw and Danny Wilkins repeatedly opened up the home defence.

And the league’s young player of the year Curran twice had shots blocked in a crowded penalty area.

He also missed a great opportunity on 86 minutes when clean through on goal , as he was denied by the keeper in a one on one.

The Reds may have missed out on the play-offs, but nevertheless have had a good season to finish in eighth place in the league with a team of promising young players, and will look forward to next season with optimism.

Tadcaster bowed out of the play-offs on Tuesday night at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, as they lost 2-1 at Bamber Bridge, who will host the play-off final against Prescot Cables tomorrow, kick-off 3 p.m.

DAVE PRIESTLEY