Colne beat the weather on Saturday when they travelled to the Halton Stadium, Widnes and outplayed the home side on the 4G pitch to clinch a 2-1 victory thanks to goals by on loan signing Lewis Bradley. The game was the only one in the Bet Victor North West Division to survive the weather and the three points gained lift the Reds up to fifteenth in the table.
Colne made a confident start to the game with some good attacking moves in which Harrison Hopper was prominent. Widnes keeper Richie Mottram looked far from assured as he made a poor clearance after 11 minutes which gave Waqas Azam the chance for a run on goal and only a crunching tackle on the edge of the area prevented him from finding the net.
Four minutes later, Dave Sherlock released Lewis Bradley up the right wing and his low cross just eluded Eli Hey in the Widnes goalmouth. As Colne continued to press, Billy Hasler-Cregg won the ball off defender Jay Roberts on the left wing and his low cross flew invitingly across the home goal.
At the other end, Kevin Towey tested the Reds defence with some free kicks into the Colne penalty area but these were cleared with the help of the strong wind. As a Widnes attack broke down after 22 minutes, Hasler-Cregg’s long clearance up the left wing tempted Mottram out of his area and when he mis-kicked the bouncing ball, Bradley went past him to place it in the empty net to give Colne the lead.
Widnes looked for a quick reply and Towey made a strong run through the middle only to lift his shot just over the bar from the edge of the area. And in the next attack by the home side, Marcus Poscha made a great tackle to halt the run of Ryan Jennings as he cut in from the left wing. After 33 minutes, Jennings again made a defence-splitting run into the Colne area and James Steel e saw his close range shot blocked in the goalmouth before Hakan Burton claimed the ball at the feet of the opposing forwards in the six yard box.
With half time approaching, James Murray broke clear through the middle and knocked the ball past the advancing Burton towards the unguarded net and despite the efforts of Hasler-Cregg on the line, it went in off the post to level the scores at 1-1 after 40 minutes.
Colne looked to restore their lead and in the final minute Connor Hughes’ pass released Bradley in the home area and his chip over Mottram bounced inches wide of the far post.
As the second half began, both sides looked for a second goal and Hey’s cross from the bye line was cleared as Bradley was crowded out in the goalmouth. While at the other end, Burton made a good save to push away Ben Hodkinson’s shot from under his crossbar.
After 67 minutes, the best move of the game saw Colne take the lead as Hasler-Cregg made progress up the left wing and found Hughes with his through ball who pulled it back for Bradley to find the net with a first time finish.
Three minutes later, Widnes looked to level the scores again but Burton dived to his left to hold Steele’s shot with a good save. As play swung to the other end, Lee Pugh and Hasler-Cregg created chances with good crosses from the left wing and Brad Knox saw his well struck shot blocked in the home penalty area.
With five minutes left, a high cross from a Widnes corner reached Alex McQuade beyond the far post and his powerful header was knocked away from under the bar in an instinctive save by Burton to preserve Colne’s lead.
With the game in injury time, Colne had the chance to seal the game when Mamadou Djabi and Knox combined to create an opening for Hasler-Cregg to go clear but he lifted his shot over the bar with just the keeper to beat.