Andrew’s Match Preview
Colne v Trafford
Saturday 7th January - 15:00
Colne welcome Greater Manchester side Trafford to Holt House, for a Saturday afternoon fixture in the Northern Premier West Division.
Trafford, nicknamed the North, were founded in 1990 and play their home games at Shawe View Stadium in Flixton, six miles South West of Manchester. Last season the North finished comfortably in 11th place with 49 points and in the head to head with the Reds, Colne took 4 points after a 1-1 draw at Trafford on the opening day of the season, with Reece Webb-Foster cancelling out a Mike Burke goal, and a narrow 1-0 win at Holt House in December, with Webb-Foster scoring the only goal. The two clubs also met in the FA Cup last season with Colne emerging victorious once again with a 2-1 win in a home replay after a 2-2 draw at Shawe View. Reece Webb-Foster provided all of the Reds’ goals. Back in August, a 40 yard strike from Craig Carney gave the Reds a first half lead in their first away game of the campaign, but Trafford hit back through Tom Bentham and the points were shared.
This season the North have won 6, drawn 5 and lost 10, which gives them 23 points from 21 games, as they sit in 12th place. Trafford have defeated Mossley 2-0, City of Liverpool 3-2 and Witton Albion 2-1 at home and have won on their travels at Skelmersdale United 3-2, Clitheroe 2-1 and Hanley Town 2-1. In the FA Cup, after thumping AFC Liverpool 6-0 in the extra preliminary round the North were knocked out by Runcorn Linnets at the next stage 1-2 at home. Trafford were defeated in the FA Trophy at the first hurdle, losing 1-2 to Hebburn Town. In their last game, on Monday, they were held at home 2-2 by Glossop North End after coming back from two down, and in their last away fixture they were beaten 2-3 at Ramsbottom United.
Trafford players to watch - Winger Matty Morgan joined Colne in 2017 from Maine Road, only to sign for Bamber Bridge in May ‘18. He returned to Colne for the 18/19 season featuring 18 times and scoring 3 goals before rejoining Maine Road for the 19/20 season, then signing for Trafford the following year. Matty returned to Holt House in November ‘21 and scored 3 goals in 4 appearances before deciding to head back to Trafford. Matty has scored 4 times this season in 25 games for the North.
30 year old forward Tom Bentham joined the club in the summer from Ashton United, returning to the place his career started at as a teenager. Tom has Nantwich Town, Hyde United, Stalybridge Celtic and Atherton Collieries also on his CV and he has scored 9 times this season in all competitions.
In his second season at the club, 24 year old striker Mike Burke began his career at Maine Road before joining Staveley whilst still at University. Mike then got a move to Stalybridge Celtic in the NPL Premier until dropping down a league to sign for the North in the summer of 2021, scoring 10 goals in his first season. Tom has already netted 8 times this term in league and cup.
Midfielder/winger Astley Mulholland is an ever present this season and is in his second spell with the club. The 34 year old skipper has played for a host of non league clubs in his long career, including Barrow, Chorley, FC United, Radcliffe and Mossley.
Central defender Harry Norris is another ever present this season after joining in the summer from New Mills. Harry was with Oldham Athletic as a youngster.
Winger Saj Elhassan was another summer signing for the North, making the switch from Maine Road. Saj has scored 4 goals this term in league and cup in 23 appearances.
Left wing back Aaron Fleming was a teenager at Blackpool before joining Fylde in 2015. The 27 year old is another player who has had a host of clubs before arriving at Trafford, including managing to sign for four clubs last season! Aaron joined Macclesfield in July ‘21, then Barnoldswick Town in October, Ramsbottom United in December, then Trafford at the end of the season.
The North are managed by Danny Caldecott who joined the club in 2015 as a player, progressed to assistant manager two years later, then took over as first team manager in the summer of 2020.
Last time out for the Reds - Last Monday the Reds travelled to Stoke-on-Trent to take on 17th placed Hanley Town in the first fixture of the new year. Severe traffic issues on the M6 prevented both Brad Knox and Enock Lusiama from being named in the starting eleven, and their places were taken by the returning Glenn Steel and Ellis Wallbank. Steel made up a defensive trio with Tom Hoyle and Harry Winstanley, and Wallbank played right wing-back with Paul Dugdale playing the same role on the left. Tom McCann took up a central midfield role alongside Oli Roberts and Craig Carney and Owen Watkinson led the line alongside Lucas Weaver. Tom Donaghy made his debut between the posts. Whether it was the travel disruption, or too much New Year’s celebrations, the Reds were never at it in the first half and seemed to prefer to be reactive rather than proactive, thus handing the initiative to a side who had one win in seven, and had only picked up one point at home all season. It could have been so different, if in the first minute Lucas Weaver, who ran clean through from a Harry Winstanley clearance, could have put the chance away, but a fast chasing defender denied him even getting his shot off. The dangerous Jacob Twyford was showing his influence for the home side and on 27 minutes, a lovely little run and jink in the Colne box wrong-footed Winstanley and a cool finish into the corner gave the Blues a 1-0 lead. Paul Dugdale had a good effort cleared from the line near the end of first 45, which was Colne’s best chance of an undeserved equaliser. Phil Brown knew what was needed at the break, and Enock Lusiama - who’d arrived midway through the first half - replaced Harry Winstanley, as the Reds changed to a 433 formation. A crazy start to the second half gave Colne the way back into the game they needed, when Joel Stair the Hanley centre-half, verbally abused the linesman and was given a yellow card to match the one he received in the first half and Town were down to 10 men. The Reds began to boss the game as Lusiama’s drive spurred them on and Sheikh Islam joined the fray after 69 minutes replacing Tom McCann in midfield. Three minutes later, a left footed long range effort from Lusiama somehow squeezed its way underneath the Town keeper and Colne had their equaliser. Danny Kyobe replaced Lucas Weaver up front and after a penalty scare at the other end, the Reds went looking for a winner. Sustained pressure was realised on 84 minutes, when an Oli Roberts corner was bundled in by Owen Watkinson, who claimed his first league goal since the beginning of September. The points looked to be heading back North, until the Reds conceded a cheap corner in the 95th minute that should have been cleared, and despite a great stop from Donaghy in the Colne goal, Charlie Walford forced home the equaliser. The point kept the Reds in 14th place with 22 points from 19 games and Oli Roberts’ control of the midfield in the second half and assist for Colne’s second goal earned him the man of the match.
Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Ben Anderson still has a niggling back issue but could make the bench.
Luke Stowe continued his hamstring rehab and trained fully on Thursday evening, so he could be involved.
Matty Kardacz received a grade 1 MCL knee tear whilst on loan at Padiham, which will see him out for 3-4 weeks.
Aaron Turner is still awaiting a scan, concerning his meniscus knee issue.
Jack Doherty is hoping to have surgery for his ACL injury on the 17th of this month. This injury has ruled him out for the season.
Hakan Burton continues his rehabilitation, which could see him return in 4-6 weeks The Colne keeper is back training fitness wise, but not yet shot stopping.
Team news - Central midfielder Bradley Knox has left the club and returned to Barnoldswick Town. His breaking up play and water carrying role will be missed. Tom Fagan is back for inclusion after his return from holiday. Phil Brown has options of whether to play Tom McCann or Sheikh Islam as a straight swap for Brad Knox or play an experienced midfield four with Dugdale and Fagan joining in on the flanks in front of a defensive three. Danny Kyobe and Ellis Wallbank (who had a good game on Monday) will be hoping for more minutes probably from the sidelines.
Trafford sit a point above the Reds in the table, but have played two games more. They’ve won 3 out of 10 away from home this season with 1 draw, but they have won only once in the league, home and away, in their last 8 matches. On Boxing Day, Trafford were beaten 2-3 at bottom of the table Ramsbottom United, and on Monday they had to rely on two late goals to salvage a point at home to third from bottom Glossop North End. Colne on the other hand have lost just once in their last 9 league games and haven’t lost a game at Holt House since a 1-2 reverse to Skelmersdale United back in October. The Reds beat 5th placed Clitheroe 2-1 in their last home fixture on Boxing Day, with goals from Tom Hoyle and Craig Carney and only a 95th minute equaliser denied them all three points at Hanley Town on Monday. In that game, Owen Watkinson got back on the goal sheet, and hopefully he can kick on and help improve the goals for column for Phil Brown’s side, which is still the lowest in the league. The loss of Bradley Knox is an obvious blow to the Reds, but his departure has come at a time when there is cover available, and plenty of options for the gaffer re his choice of formation. Colne have played 3 very strong sides in their last 3 home games and have emerged with 5 points, so with Trafford struggling of late and Phil Brown’s Lions in the ascendency, a Colne victory looks to be the most likely outcome.
Admission Prices are:
Adults : £9
Concessions : £6
Under 16’s : £1
Under 12’s : Free
Sat 14th January - Mossley v Colne - 15:00 NPL West
Sat 21st January - Colne v Glossop North End - 15:00 NPL West
Sat 28th January - Macclesfield v Colne - 15:00 NPL West
Tues 31st January - Kidsgrove Athletic v Colne - 19:45 NPL West
Sat 11th February - 1874 Northwich v Colne - 15:00 NPL West
Tues 28th February - Colne v Workington - 19:45 NPL West
Today’s NPL West games - 15:00
1874 Northwich v Kidsgrove Athletic
Bootle v Widnes
Glossop North End v Witton Albion
Macclesfield v Leek Town
Newcastle Town v Hanley Town
Ramsbottom United v Clitheroe
Runcorn Linnets v Mossley
Skelmersdale United v City of Liverpool
Workington v Prescot Cables