Widnes v Colne
DCBL Stadium, Widnes - 15:00
Saturday 27th August
Colne travel to Cheshire this weekend as they take on Widnes FC at the 13,350 capacity DCBL stadium, also home to rugby league side Widnes Vikings.
Widnes finished in 13th place last season, just one spot higher than Colne. A hotly disputed James Steele penalty on the hour mark, gave Widnes the lead in the corresponding fixture last November, but Colne hit back with a Sinclair own goal, one from Matty Morgan and a 3rd from Tunde Bayode to run out 3-1 winners. In the return at Holt House, Colne again claimed all the points in a 2-0 victory, with a strike from on-loan winger Danny Edwards and a penalty from another loanee Elliott Rokka.
Widnes began the present league campaign with a 1-3 defeat away at play-off hopefuls, Runcorn Linnets in the Halton Derby, and a 1-1 home draw against Bootle, where a Stephen Rigby goal rescued a point. They currently sit 16th in the league table, just one place above the Reds.
The Whites had to travel to Winsford United in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup and a Luke Sephton strike earned a reply in a 1-1 draw. McCulloch and Salkeld goals, safely put them through to the next round in a 2-0 home win. An away tie at non league up and comers Bury AFC last Sunday was their reward, but it was the North West Counties Premier league side who prevailed, with 2 second half goals to secure a 2-0 victory and Widnes bowed out.
The Widnes manager Dave Dempsey hasn’t pulled his punches about some of his side’s performances already this term, especially in the FA Cup. After the draw at Winsford, Dempsey described his team’s performance as “absolutely dreadful”. In the defeat to lower league Bury AFC, the White’s gaffer exclaimed “the way the lads applied themselves wasn't good enough. It was very very poor”. He went on to claim "It's up to us to put it right. The lads need to continue to work hard and hopefully we'll be in better shape come the Colne game [this coming Saturday] and you'll see a better Widnes side."
Widnes players to watch - Former Wigan Athletic reserve, centre-half Michael Burke
captain’s the Whites and marshal’s the defence. New signing, ex Stalybridge Celtic marksman, Luke Sephton is already off the mark with his first goal. Other new signings worth a watch are box to box midfielder Jordan Wynne who has joined from Bootle and attacking midfielder Jay Salkeld who helped Skelmesdale win promotion last term.
The Reds who have just the 1 point so far this season, will be looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 2-3 defeat on Tuesday night, at Holt House to Mossley. It all started so well for the home side, with Lucas Weaver opening the scoring on 7 minutes, then becoming provider for an Owen Watkinson goal 11 minutes later. The Lilywhites, however hit back and halved the deficit with a well struck free-kick. Colne surged forward after the restart and a combination of cross-bar, deflections and great keeping kept the third goal at bay. It only seemed a matter of time before they finished the unbeaten Mossley off, especially when the away side were reduced to ten men after an hour. However, Mossley, who had won their previous two league games with late goals, were spurred on, and attacking downhill, their pressure began to tell. Ten minutes from time, a bullet header from a corner from Freddie Sass made it 2-2 and in the dying seconds a superb shot into the corner from Nicky Clee, beat an unsighted Colne keeper, to break Red’s hearts. The Mossley manager David Fish’s comment during the customary end of game handshakes of “I have no idea how we managed to win that game” could not have been more apt.
Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Charlie Russell won’t be available, after a slight set-back in his progression. Both Hakan Burton and Harry Winstanley look like being at least 10 weeks away from any kind of return, due to injuries sustained in the FA Cup game at Clitheroe. Ellis Wallbank picked up a knock in the last 15 on Tuesday evening and may not have recovered. The remainder of the squad are fit and well.
Team selection - Well versed veteran, Daniel Thorpe will continue to claim the number 1 jersey in Hakan’s absence. Unless a loan keeper is brought in, goalkeeping coach Mike Hale is still fit enough to deputise as number 2 if required. Central defence must surely be a concern for the Colne manager after the injury to Harry Winstanley so early in the campaign, and the shock departure of Red Army favourite Tom Dean. The experienced, no nonsense centre-back’s presence will surely be missed, as will his 6 foot 4 aerial threat in the opposition’s box. Phil Brown will be hopefully leaving no stone unturned in finding Deano’s replacement. Meanwhile, Matty Kardacz has the chance to gain more valuable playing time, alongside the mercurial Glenn Steel. New signing Bradley Knox will be available for selection after making his debut on Tuesday night. He will be familiar to the Red Army faithful, after his previous spell at the club. The tough tackling central midfielder, had been playing down the road at Barnoldswick Town and he will relish the test to step back up to Northern Premier level. Adam Mayor has returned to his parent club Morecambe and his pace and stamina will be a big miss for the Reds. Harry Jones completes his very harsh 3 match suspension and will be available for the home fixture on Bank holiday Monday against Hanley Town.
There’s no doubt that the Reds have improved with each performance so far this season and Phil Brown will be hoping for that to continue against a Widnes side
struggling for form themselves. The younger lions are beginning to find their feet as shown by Tom McCann’s performance on Tuesday night and the rotation of Lucas Weaver and Jack Doherty paying dividends. The 3G pitch at the DCBL Stadium may also enhance Colne’s chances and be more suitable to the Red’s style of play.
Mon 29th August - Colne v Hanley Town 15:00
Tue 6th September - Colne v City of Liverpool 19:45
Sat 10th September - Bridlington Town v Colne FA Trophy 15:00
Saturday’s other NPL West fixtures
City of Liverpool FC v Macclesfield 15:00
Clitheroe v 1874 Northwich 15:00
Hanley Town v Skelmersdale United 15:00
Kidsgrove Athletic v Glossop North End 15:00
Leek Town v Ramsbottom United 15:00
Mossley v Newcastle Town 15:00
Prescot Cables v Runcorn Linnets 15:00
Trafford v Bootle 15:00
Witton Albion v Workington 15:00
Admission Prices are:
Under 16's £1
The DCBL Stadium
Lower house Lane,