Fourth Place Finish for the Reds !
By Dave Priestley
Colne secured their place in the play-offs with a vital win against relegated side Skelmersdale United at Valerie Park on Saturday.
First half goals by Mamadou Djabi and Alex Curran gave the Reds a two goal lead at the interval but a goal for the home side early in the second half kept the game on a knife edge in an evenly balanced last half hour.
The game only went ahead after discussions between the referee and team officials just before two o’clock concerning the state of the pitch after many hours of heavy rain. Colne began on the attack with Curran and Reece Webb-Foster opening up the Skelmersdale defence with some good moves and Oliver Wood saw his goal-bound shot blocked by Skem keeper Ryan Kirkman after eight minutes.
As the Reds continued to push forward, a corner kick found Lee Pugh on the edge of the area and his shot was blocked by defenders in the goalmouth but Djabi followed up to fire home the loose ball and give Colne the lead after 15 minutes.
The Reds pressed forward with more good attacks and after 22 minutes Curran was sent sprawling in the penalty area by a push from behind from a defender. Curran took responsibility and fired home the resulting spot kick to double Colne’s lead.
Skelmersdale threatened briefly at the other end but high crosses were headed away by Andy Hollins and Billy Priestley in the Colne defence.
With half time approaching, a through ball from Djabi released Curran for a run on goal but Kirkman was down at his feet to claim the ball and Kirkman was again in action to push a goal-bound shot from Webb-Foster round the post with an agile save.
The Reds looked to be in the driving seat but five minutes into the second half, Skelmersdale reduced the arrears when a long cross to the far post was headed home by Alex Griffiths and the home side were clearly lifted by the goal. Colne needed to defend as dangerous crosses were played into their goalmouth and Alex Coleman made a series of vital clearances.
Midway through the half, Brad Lynch joined the game from the subs bench to enliven the Colne attack with his runs up the left wing and almost immediately he created a clear shooting chance for Djabi but the Colne striker lifted his shot over the bar. The Reds looked for a third goal to make the game safe and Brad Knox forced a save from the keeper before Webb-Foster saw his shot deflected wide of the home goal off defenders.
In the closing stages, Matty Morgan shot wide from another good opening after Curran’s pass found him in space in the home penalty area. And Lynch was unlucky to see his goal-bound volley blocked in a crowded goalmouth following a Colne corner.
Colne’s large band of vociferous travelling supporters celebrated at the final whistle as they look forward to playing Leek Town in the play-off semi-final away at Harrison Park on Wednesday evening.