Colne came through their first big test of the season on Saturday with a closely fought win over 1874 Northwich in the Extra Preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup. Phil Brown’s young side competed throughout and a second half equaliser by the visitors only served to sting the Reds into action to restore their lead within three minutes.
Both sides attacked from the outset and Northwich threatened with attacks up the right wing forcing Glenn Steel to clear the ball from his goalmouth in an early raid and Hakan Burton to make a great stop at his near post from Manuel Diop Parra’s well struck shot after ten minutes.
As Northwich continued to look the more dangerous, Fenton Green saw his well struck shot blocked on the edge of the Colne area and Burton did well to hold a goal-bound shot by Joe Woolley under his crossbar after 26 minutes.
Five minutes later, at the other end, Ellis Wallbank’s pass found Owen Watkinson inside the visitors’ area and he turned past the defender before shooting low and hard past ex-Red Tony Aghayere and into the far corner of the net to give Colne the lead.
The Reds were lifted by the goal and pressed forward looking for a second with Adam Mayor opening up the visitors’ defence and Lucas Weaver having shots blocked in the Northwich area. Colne thought they had doubled their lead after 43 minutes when a great run by Steel set up Watkinson to fire home from an angle but a marginal offside decision ruled the goal out and the Reds went into the interval with a single goal lead.
Colne pushed forward early in the second half and Craig Carney’s shot was blocked in the area in a period of pressure for the Reds. While at the other end, Mackenzie O’Neill forced a good save from Burton to keep out his shot at the near post.
After 58 minutes, Northwich drew level as Joe Woolley worked the ball in from the right touchline before firing a low left foot shot inside the near post of the Colne goal.
Colne’s response was immediate as Mayor forced a corner on the left for the Reds and from the resulting cross Jack Doherty rose high above the Northwich defence to head the ball past a helpless Aghayere and into the net to restore Colne’s lead.
Northwich looked for a second equaliser and Jack Irlam looked sure to score before Burton got down at his feet to block his effort and clear the danger. And the visitors came close again when O’Neill’s header came back off the Colne crossbar before being cleared by the Reds defence.
But Colne threatened at the other end with some good attacking moves involving Tom Fagan, Harry Jones and Luke Stowe. And Mayor flashed a shot just wide from a good chance before Watkinson was denied by a point blank save by Aghayere in his goalmouth as the Reds fought strongly to secure a deserved win.
Colne now play Clitheroe on 20th August at Shawbridge in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup in what promises to be an enthralling local derby.
Thanks to Up North Productions for the stats.