Wood Keeps The Reds In Touch
By Dave Priestley
Colne stayed in touch with the leading pack in the Evo-Stik West with a narrow win against strugglers Skelmersdale United at the Sovereign Play Stadium on Tuesday night
Despite their lowly league position, Skelmersdale gave the Reds a run for their money and the game was on a knife edge until Oliver Wood broke the deadlock with 12 minutes of the game remaining.
In the opening stages, the visitors looked shaky with a series of misplaced passes but their central striker Joel Douglas tested the Reds defence with a good run into the penalty area and then a header just over the Colne bar.
But at the other end, the Reds threatened to take an early lead when Brad Lynch’s searching cross after ten minutes threaded its way across the Skelmersdale goalmouth just needing a touch. And three minutes later, it was Lynch who cut in from the left wing and forced a good save from Skelmersdale keeper Ryan Kirkman with a well struck shot.
Colne keeper Hakan Burton was quick to race from his area and clear the danger after 17 minutes as Liam Wood chased a through ball. But in the end-to-end play, Matty Morgan’s cross was hacked clear from the Skelmersdale goalmouth at the expense of a corner and Reece Webb-Foster’s diagonal ball found Lynch in front of goal but unable to turn past defenders.
Colne successfully defended a series of corners by the visitors and then created a great chance with a corner of their own when Andy Hollins headed the ball down at the far post for Simon Nangle but Kirkman got down bravely to block the ball at his feet and clear the danger.
As the second half began, a cross by Lynch from the left wing looked destined for the head of Wood coming in at the far post but Skem centre half Tommy Lent cleared the danger with a vital header. And as Colne continued to press forward, a long throw by Lee Pugh found Webb-Foster in the penalty area but his shot on the turn flew over the bar.
Burton was called into action as Skelmersdale created some good chances but the Reds goal survived with Matty Corness missing two opportunities with some wayward shooting in a let-off for the Colne defence.
Colne brought on fresh legs midway through the half and Waqas Azam threatened the Skelmersdale goal with some good runs and free kicks. But Kirkman in the visitors net coped well with everything that was thrown at him.
After 78 minutes, an Azam free kick was half cleared from the Skelmersdale area and Pugh took the ball forward again hurdling several challenges and looking for a shooting opportunity. When the ball ricocheted wide to Wood, he drove a shot into the bottom corner of the net to give the Reds the lead they had fought for throughout the night.
Colne pushed forward looking for a second goal and came close when Morgan’s shot was blocked by the keeper’s feet and Brad Knox followed up to fire the loose ball just wide of goal.
In the end the result was a close run thing and the Reds came through with the narrowest of margins. Nevertheless they are still on track to challenge for a place in the play-offs and will keep that objective in sight as they approach the final games of the season.