Colne Beat The Freeze
Colne maintained their hundred percent record in 2018 with their fifth win in a row on Tuesday evening at a snow-bound Utility Renewals Stadium against Skelmersdale United.
Goals by Bradley Knox and Ollie Crankshaw saw them through to victory but ultimately it was keeper Hakan Burton who made sure of the points with some great saves.
Burton was in action in only the second minute of the game when he pushed a shot by Tom Molyneux round the post in a one-on-one. But the Reds pressed forward in the early stages with some good attacks and Alex Curran saw his close range shot well saved by visitors’ keeper Callum Roberts after a good build-up on eight minutes. A minute later, Colne went one better and took the lead when Knox fired home after a corner kick reached him in a crowded penalty area.
As Colne looked for a second goal, Simon Nangle curled a 25 yard free kick just over the bar and Andy Hollins saw his header saved from another Reds free kick.
At the other end, Tom Hulme shot across the face of the Colne goal from a narrow angle and Jack Fleming saw his well struck free kick deflected wide of goal off a Reds defender. After 36 minutes, Bevan Burey’s cross found Jack Lenehan in front of goal and his point blank header was pushed onto the crossbar in an instinctive save by Burton when an equaliser looked certain. And five minutes later, Burton again came to the rescue when he smothered the ball on the goal-line following a free kick into the crowded Colne goalmouth.
But with half time imminent, the Reds doubled their lead with an outstanding solo effort by Crankshaw who picked up the ball out on the left wing at the half way line and his run took him towards goal cutting inside and beating defenders before firing a shot just inside the far post from 20 yards past the helpless keeper.
As the second half began, Colne looked for another goal but were caught out on the hour when Hulme made an attacking run on the left wing and pulled the ball back for Burey in the centre who sliced his shot wide out to the right of goal where it fell invitingly for Jordan Darr to find the net with a low angled drive and reduce the arrears to 2-1.
Ten minutes later, Skelmersdale came close to an equaliser when a free kick into the Colne goalmouth was met by a firm close range header by Mike Roddy but again Burton produced a one-handed save to keep the ball out of the net and deny the visitors.
As play switched to the other end, a good cross by Curran reached Chris Lynch at the far post but he directed his header just wide. And minutes later, Matty Morgan’s shot was blocked by a defender in the area from an incisive Colne move. In the closing stages, the Reds might have added a third goal when Sam Howell’s cross gave Connor Hughes a clear sight of goal but he lifted his shot over the bar from close range.
Colne’s young players battled well in difficult conditions and came out on top despite being pushed all the way by a competitive Skelmersdale side.