Colne came out on top in the local derby – the “Pend-El Clasico” – with a 1-0 win against Nelson at Victoria Park on Tuesday night, but were made to fight all the way in a competitive clash.
In the end it was fitting that it was a Jason Hart goal just before the interval decided the outcome of the game, as the Reds striker had been involved in the major incidents.
The Blues who got off to the better start as they probed the Reds defence with some positive attacking moves.
But as Colne settled into the game, they began to control midfield, where Chris Anderson built a series of attacks with some good passing.
Luke Thompson made a vital last-ditch tackle to prevent Hart from breaking clear after 12 minutes as the Reds striker accelerated onto a through ball. But five minutes later, Hart was back to help his defence out, clearing the ball as the Blues attacked.
A series of corners by the Reds promised an opening goal, but Danny Boyle side-footed a golden chance over the bar after 25 minutes.
Minutes later, Alex Coleman did well to cut out Wayne Morrison’s cross in the area as Elliott Sharp looked to benefit.
And as Nelson pushed forward with more attacks, Colne keeper Tony Aghayere did well to block Sharp’s attempt when a goal looked imminent.
But two minutes before half -time, Colne took the lead when Simon Nangle released Hart with a well judged through ball, and Hart chipped over the keeper and into the empty net.
Early in the second half, Ed Williams made a great tackle to rob Waqas Azam as he burst into the area from the right wing.
And on the hour, Azam got no joy from the referee when he went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Hart.
After 76 minutes, Anderson again provided a through ball for Hart to chase, and Nelson keeper Sean Davis came out of his area and collided with Hart. While it looked a dubious challenge, the referee saw nothing wrong, although Hart needed lengthy treatment.
Five minutes later, Hart had the chance to put the game out of Nelson’s reach when a corner fell to him at the far post, but he volleyed over the bar with goal at his mercy.
Nelson made a late rally in an effort to salvage a point, but despite some desperate attacking in the closing minutes, were unable to break down the Colne defence and the Reds took three vital points in their quest for promotion.
The Reds are now eight points behind leaders Runcorn Linnets, but have three games in hand. Atherton Collieries are two points adrift of Colne, having played two games more.
Tomorrow Colne are at home to 1874 Northwich (kick-off 3 p.m.) and on Tuesday they welcome Alsager Town to the XLCR Stadium (8 p.m.).
Nelson, meanwhile, are on the road as they travel to AFC Liverpool’s Marine Travel Arena tomorrow (kick-off 3 p.m.).
The Blues are without a midweek game.