Narrow Defeat for the Reds against League Leaders
Colne slipped to a narrow defeat against league leaders South Shields at the Utility Renewals Stadium on Tuesday night in a thrilling end-to-end game.
The visitors started like an express train and gave the Colne defence plenty of problems in the opening stages in the slippery conditions. As the Reds settled into the game, they began to build some promising attacks of their own with Waqas Azam providing good crosses from the right wing and Phil Dean making good runs into the final third of the field.
A good build-up on 15 minutes saw Lawrance Hunter’s shot blocked by a defender’s body in the visitors’ penalty area and a minute later, Shields keeper Liam Connell got down well to save Azam’s shot on his goal-line. The Reds had appeals for a penalty waved aside after 20 minutes when Lee Gaskell challenged for a high ball which appeared to strike the raised hand of a defender in the visitors’ area.
As Colne enjoyed a good period of attacking, they still needed to be alert to the dangers of breakaways and their defence came under pressure after 29 minutes from a free kick on the edge of the Colne area which was kept out by a wall of red defenders.
Two minutes later, however, they again came under pressure and a diagonal shot from the right came back off the far post for Michael Richardson to score from close range giving South Shields the lead. The goal lifted the visitors who pressed forward with further attacks but with half time approaching, a poor clearance by their keeper Connell led to him being injured as he tried to recover the ball in a tackle with Dean and was substituted by Jack Norton.
As the second half began, Colne pressed forward and won a corner on the right and the superb cross provided by Hunter was despatched into the bottom corner of the net by a glancing header at the near post by Chris Lynch to level the scores at 1-1.
As play swung to the other end, Lynch was in defensive action blocking Richardson’s shot in the Colne area and minutes later, Reds keeper Hakan Burton made a great save to keep out Jamie Holmes’ shot following a dazzling run by the South Shields winger. From the resulting corner however, the visitors regained the lead when a swerving cross fell in the goalmouth for Dillon Morse to score his side’s second goal from close range.
As Colne looked to hit back, Azam’s searching cross gave Gaskell and Hunter chances in the area but the visitors defence stood firm to clear the danger. The Reds pressed forward more and more as the game went on but were in danger of conceding from a series of breakaways that finished with some wild shots over the Colne crossbar.
In the closing stages, Alex Curran saw his shot deflected wide as he followed up on a half clearance in the visitors area and Gaskell’s diagonal shot whistled past the far post needing only a touch from a team-mate to grab an equaliser.