Image credit: Fordy Four Eyes (Twitter)
Colne lost out with a narrow defeat to promotion-chasing Leek Town thanks to a fortieth minute penalty at Holt House on Saturday. But the Reds deserved better as they created a series of chances late on in their search for the equaliser.
In the opening stages, both sides tested each other out and Colne had a penalty appeal turned down after eight minutes when Ethan Sutcliffe appeared to be brought down by a challenge from behind in the Leek penalty area.
But after 21 minutes, Leek came close when Jesse Bavanganga’s run and cross from the right wing found Lewis Short for a strike at goal and his shot was blocked in the Colne area. Colne replied minutes later when Jack Williams opened up the visitors’ defence with a penetrating run and shot just over the angle from the edge of the area.
Leek pushed forward but the Colne defence coped confidently with a series of attacks. But on 40 minutes, a free kick on the halfway line found Will Saxon out on the left wing and as he got behind the Colne defence with a run into the penalty area, he was brought down from behind. Louis Keenan fired home the resulting penalty to give Leek the lead.
The goal lifted Leek and Colne needed to defend determinedly as the visitors threatened a second goal before half time. But the Reds came out in a positive mood for the second half and began to create chances in the Leek penalty area with Danny Edwards and Leon Donnelly making inroads into the visitors’ defence.
Leek still looked dangerous and in the end-to-end play Hakan Burton got down to deny Saxon as he dived at his feet in the Colne goalmouth. But at the other end, Edwards’ diagonal free kick rebounded to safety off the far post of the Leek goal with the keeper beaten after 65 minutes. And ten minutes later, Paul Dugdale created an opening for Donnelly whose shot was pushed round the post with a fingertip save by Leek keeper Daniel Roberts. And Dean Ing looked to get on the end of some inviting high balls into the visitors goalmouth as the Reds turned up the pressure.
In an end-to-end finale, Burton again needed to make a vital save to prevent Josh Ryder from doubling Leek’s score after his defence gave the ball away. But most chances fell to Colne and they were again refused a penalty when Sutcliffe was knocked to the ground just inside the Leek area.
And in the closing minutes Sutcliffe’s glancing header flashed just past the far post from Dugdale’s searching cross as Leek held on for a narrow win