Knox and Higham Sink the Clarets
By Dave Priestley
Colne kick-started their programme of pre-season friendlies with an inspirational win against Burnley FC Under 23’s at the newly named Sovereign Play Stadium on Saturday.
On a beautiful sunny afternoon, the crowd of just over 200 was rewarded by a thoroughly entertaining competitive game played out in good spirit.
The game opened with some end-to-end play and Alex Curran came close after 12 minutes when his shot was blocked in the Clarets penalty area following Danny Pilkington’s cross from the left wing. But as play switched to the to the other end, Marley Blair cut in from the left wing and rattled the Colne crossbar with a shot that beat Hakan Burton but rebounded to safety.
The Reds came close after 22 minutes when Curran’s run took him to the edge of the area but his well struck shot flew just over the bar from an excellent chance. Colne pressed forward with more promising attacks and were rewarded after 26 minutes when a corner was half cleared to Lee Pugh who saw his 25 yard pile driver blocked in the goalmouth and when Chris Lynch crossed the loose ball into the danger area, Luke Higham fired home from 12 yards to give the Reds the lead.
Burnley were stung into action and drew level ten minutes later when Ntumba Massanka headed home a high cross from a corner kick. As the Clarets stepped up the pressure, Burton made vital close range saves to deny Tinashe Chakwana in his crowded goalmouth to keep the scores level at half time.
In an even start to the second half, Curran saw his shot deflected for a corner while at the other end, Alex Coleman did well to turn Josh Benson’s shot wide of the Colne goal. The Reds came close on the hour when Sam Howell’s run on the left set up Connor Hughes but his shot was well saved by Burnley keeper Adam Bruce.
After 72 minutes however Bruce was left rooted to the spot when Bradley Knox unleashed an unstoppable 25 yard volley that hit the roof of the net in the blink of an eye to restore Colne’s lead at 2-1.
Again the Clarets were stung into action and Rob Harker saw his shot deflected just wide of the far post from a promising attack before the same player headed wide from the resulting corner. And minutes later, Mace Goodrich’s shot was cleared from the Colne goalmouth by Lynch as the home side defended stubbornly.
The Reds looked to hit Burnley on the break in the closing stages but were more than happy to settle for an exceedingly creditable 2-1 win after a thoroughly entertaining game.