Colne slid to a narrow defeat against Premier Division Lancaster City at Holt House on Saturday, in an entertaining game under challenging weather conditions.
The friendly was the first game allowed under Government Covid Regulations, with a limited crowd of paying spectators and is the first step to returning to normal in the coming season.
In a lively start, Colne were forced to defend as Lancaster won a series of corners and the visitors took the lead after four minutes when Sam Bailey drove a low diagonal shot into the Colne goalmouth and Tom Kilifin diverted the ball past Hakan Burton from close range to open the scoring.
As the visitors continued to press, the Colne defence made some strong clearances with Lee Pugh and Tom Dean dominant in the air. And in a good end-to-end break, Sam O’Halleron was denied by the advancing keeper as he bore down on the Lancaster goal. As Colne began to create chances, Aidan Chippendale’s cross just eluded Reece Webb-Foster in the City penalty area.
As play switched to the other end, Burton raced from his area to clear the ball from the toes of Paul Dawson, as he ran on to a through ball and then held on to a goal-bound shot by Kilifin in a subsequent attack by the visitors.
Colne began to grow in confidence with more of the attacking play and came close to an equaliser after 24 minutes, when O’Halleron’s free kick from just outside the penalty area was turned over the bar with a great save by City keeper Sam Ashton. As Colne continued to press, they created further chances and after 39 minutes Ben Unsworth’s inswinging corner brought a double save from Ashton, as he firstly pushed out Alex Coleman’s far post header and then blocked the follow-up by O’Halleron at point blank range.
Early in the second half, Colne came close again when Mamadou Djabi broke on the left wing and his cross was knocked just past the far post by Webb-Foster in front of goal. Lancaster looked dangerous on the break and Burton made great saves to keep out Matty Blinkhorn’s header after 55 minutes and nine minutes later to deny Dawson with his outstretched foot in a one-on-one.
Colne put together a series of good attacks with Harry Cannon-Noren and Pugh supplying good crosses into the Lancaster area and the City defence survived some goalmouth scrambles under severe pressure. Ashton punched a high ball off Djabi’s head before Pugh and Tom Brown had shots blocked to deny Colne an equaliser after 70 minutes.
One minute later, City hit back on the counter when Bailey broke on the right wing and Tom Goodwin came out to block his shot with a good save, but could do nothing about the follow-up cross which was headed home by Rhys Turner to double Lancaster’s lead at 2-0.
Colne pushed forward looking to reduce the arrears with Cannon-Noren and Michael Tetteh prominent in their attacks, but when Djabi’s promising run won a free kick just outside the area, O’Halleron’s strike flew over the visitors crossbar.
The first taste of football for the Colne supporters for five months and we look forward to a season which promises plenty of action and hopefully a rewarding outcome on this showing.
Colne F.C. Line Up: