Reds up to Second
By Dave Priestley
Colne maintained their one hundred percent record with hard fought win against newly promoted Widnes at the Sovereign Play Stadium on Saturday, a result that took them to second place in the league after four games.
Steve Cunningham’s young players will have gained valuable experience against some older and more seasoned campaigners in the Widnes side whilst the Reds stalwart defenders Lee Pugh, Alex Coleman and Jonathan Hodgkinson kept a clean sheet with a solid display.
In the opening minutes it was Widnes who looked the more dangerous as Ben Hodkinson saw his shot deflected wide of the Colne goal before Coleman made a vital interception to cut out Ben Cartwright’s cross at the expense of another corner.
But the Reds might have taken the lead after four minutes when Alex Curran and Connor Hughes exchanged passes on a run into the penalty area before Widnes keeper Richard Mottram claimed the ball at Curran’s feet in his goalmouth. Colne came close again after sixteen minutes when Hughes cut in from the right wing and hit a left foot shot that beat Mottram but skimmed the top of the crossbar.
Colne continued to push forward but were continually caught offside and Widnes were a constant threat with Kevin Towey making dangrerous runs and Dale Korie-Butler forcing a good save from Hakan Burton with a hard low shot,
With half time approaching the Reds forced a series of corners and free kicks as they pushed the visitors back on the defensive and they began the second half in attacking mode. Four minutes after the interval Colne made the breakthrough when Hughes’ through ball found Brad Lynch in the penalty area and Mottram’s tackle only cleared it as far as Reece Webb-Foster who drove an angled shot into the net to give the Reds the lead.
Colne looked for a second goal and on the hour Curran robbed Cartwright just outside the Widnes penalty area but the visitors’ defender managed to get back and win the ball with a last ditch tackle as Curran bore down on goal.
As Colne got some good attacks together they created more chances but were unable to find a good finish for a second goal that would have made the game safe while at the other end in a series of counter-attacks, Coleman headed high crosses clear while Pugh made a great tackle to stop Towey as he made a run into the Colne area.
With fifteen minutes left the Reds were reduced to ten men when Hodgkinson received his second yellow card for his challenge on the Widnes keeper but Colne reorganised and played out the game comfortably with Waqas Azam strengthening the midfield and Joe Gaughan adding strength to the Reds up front.