Colne v Hanley Town
Holt House - 15:00
Monday 29th August
Colne welcome league new comers, Stoke on Trent based, Hanley Town to Holt House for the August bank holiday afternoon fixture.
Hanley Town had a terrific season last term, winning the Midland league Premier division by 9 points with only 3 defeats. They also reached the 3rd qualifying round in the FA Cup for the 1st time in their history, taking Brackley Town to a replay, before succumbing to a 1-0 narrow defeat.
Hanley began life in step 4 with a great 3-1 win away at Ramsbottom United. An early strike from James Lawrie set them on their way, then 2 Chris Dagnall goals made the game safe, before Rammy pulled one back. The Blues then entertained neighbours Newcastle Town in a Potteries derby at the Payaro stadium. Two goals in as many minutes gave the visitors first half advantage and a late consolation goal from Louis Dodds wasn’t enough to earn Hanley anything from the game. Another excellent performance on their travels saw Town gain a valuable point in a goalless draw at Runcorn Linnets last Tuesday evening. Fellow league newcomers Skelmersdale United were in opposition last Saturday, and they raced into a 3-0 interval lead, before adding a 4th in the second half. Two late goals from Lawrie and Shotton reduced the deficit, but United hung on to win their second away game of the season 4-2. Hanley currently sit 14th in the NPL West with 4 points.
Town are still in the FA Cup after thrashing Hereford Lads Club 5-1 away in the extra preliminary round and overcoming Hinckley LRFC at home 1-0, with a goal from young striker Reece Jones. An away tie at Stourbridge in the 1st qualifying round on Friday evening, is their reward.
Hanley Town players to watch
Obviously, ex premier league defender Ryan Shotton is the stand-out for the Blues. He spent 8 years at Stoke City, then had spells with Derby County, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough. Although originally a right back, Shotton can also play in the centre of defence and up front when required. Former Port Vale pro Charlie Walford is dangerous down the left hand side, as is experienced, player’s player of the year, Tim Sanders, who operates in the middle. Up front, the Blues are very well equipped. James Lawrie was capped 3 times for Northern Ireland whilst playing for Port Vale and he’s already bagged 2 this season. 35 year old Louis Dodds has over 400 football league appearances under his belt and 36 year old Chris Dagnall, can boast 450 EFL appearances. Young player of the year, former Stoke under 21 striker Reece Jones, was Town’s leading marksman in their title win, in his first season at the club. Former Stoke, Watford and Port Vale defender Carl Dickinson still dons his boots and is Hanley’s player-manager.
The Reds sit in 18th place in the league with 2 points on the board. With 2 home league defeats already this term, they’ll be looking for their first points at Holt House under manager Phil Brown. On Saturday, the Reds travelled to the DCBL stadium to take on Widnes FC. Lucas Weaver spurned a one on one opportunity in the first minute, as once again Colne took the game to their opponents. Missed half chances from McCann, Watkinson and Carney couldn’t break the deadlock and it remained 0-0 at half time. The game opened up in the second half as the home side showed more intent, however it was Colne who took the lead around the hour mark. A clear foul on Tom McCann in the middle of the park was let go by the referee, as Colne had attacking possession through Lucas Weaver, who raced on, rounded the out rushing Widnes keeper, and slotted the ball home. Colne’s obvious defensive frailties however, meant their lead lasted only 3 minutes. A disputed free kick near the half way line was out swung into the penalty area and debutant Declan Daniels rose highest and headed the ball into the net. A huffing and puffing for both sides for the rest of the game couldn’t produce a winner, and the points were shared.
Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Charlie Russell has still not recovered from his pre-season knock, although he is back training. Hakan Burton and Harry Winstanley will still be missing for the immediate future. There didn’t appear to be any injuries from Saturday’s game at Widnes and it remains to be seen if Ellis Wallbank is available and back in the squad.
Team news - With only 3 outfield subs named at Widnes, different options are limited. Harry Jones has completed his 3 match ban and will be hoping to regain his place in the side, whilst a return for Ellis Wallbank at centre half would be a welcome plus. Paul Dugdale could feature as a third centre-back if required. Matty Kardacz played well on Saturday and is improving with playing time.
Saturday’s game at Widnes, whilst hard fought, wasn’t a classic. The home side are struggling for form and looked there for the taking, with their manager declaring “We’ll take a point, we weren’t at our best today”. The Reds however couldn’t capitalise; maybe the breaks will come. But, lack of height and inexperience at the back, appear to be costing Phil Brown’s men goals and therefore points. Defensive reinforcements must be a priority for the recruitment team. In the last 3 league games, Colne have been leading, but each time have been pegged back by a headed equaliser. Hanley’s talisman Ryan Shotton, is 6 foot 3, and when he’s not winning aerial challenges, he has a Lee Pugh like, long throw technique, which puts opposition defences under pressure
Colne’s defensive figurehead Glenn Steel will need to be on his toes. Positively, Colne gave league leaders Mossley, all the trouble they could handle last Tuesday evening at Holt House, and were desperately unlucky to come away without any points. More performances of that ilk, will surely see the Reds start to pick up wins and climb the table.
Tue 6th September - Colne v City of Liverpool 19:45
Sat 10th September - Bridlington Town v Colne FA Trophy 15:00
Tue 13th September - Glossop North End v Colne 19:45
Today’s other NPL West fixtures - 15:00
1874 Northwich v Leek Town
Bootle v City of Liverpool
Glossop N E v Trafford
Macclesfield v Widnes
Newcastle Town v Kidsgrove Athletic
Ramsbottom United v Mossley
Runcorn Linnets v Witton Albion
Skelmersdale United v Prescot Cables
Workington v Clitheroe
Admission Prices are:
Students with Valid ID £6
Under 16's £2