Following on from their excellent win in the FA Trophy the previous week, the Reds had a wake-up call at Runcorn Linnets on Saturday. A goal late in each half consigned them to defeat but in truth the score could have been higher as the home side bossed most of the game.
In an even opening period, Colne looked confident as a good run by Luke Stowe on the left wing led to his shot being blocked in the penalty area by a Linnets defender. And Oli Roberts, returning to the Colne ranks after a spell away at Atherton Collieries, saw his 25 yard volley fly just wide of the Runcorn goal. The Reds continued to create chances and Lucas Weaver pulled a shot across the face of the home goal from a good scoring position before Linnets scrambled the ball away to safety after Stowe’s cross to the near post of their goal.
But Runcorn began to take control midway through the first half and in a spell of pressure on the Colne goal Jamie Rainford’s spectacular volley flew just over the crossbar. And James Short blasted a shot inches wide of the Colne goal after a penetrating run on the left wing before Tom Fagan made a great defensive tackle to stop the run of Eden Gumbs in the Reds penalty area as the home side threatened to open the scoring.
Three minutes before half time Linnets took the lead when Short’s diagonal free kick was headed home at the far post by Sam Heathcote.
The second half began in similar fashion and a shot on the turn by Linnets James Hooper was pushed over the bar with a spectacular save by Colne keeper Andre Mendes.
Colne looked to hit back on the break and Jack Doherty looked to have a great chance as he burst into the Linnets penalty area but central defender Sean O’Mahony whipped the ball off his toes with a well timed tackle. In a subsequent attack, Owen Watkinson was denied by a last ditch tackle as he made progress into the Linnets area and Brad Knox’s 25 yard shot was deflected wide off a defender.
At the other end, Colne’s defence came under pressure with Glenn Steel and Matty Kardacz making a series of vital clearances from the goalmouth and Mendes showing excellent handling of the ball under pressure. But on the stroke of full time, Sidi Fofana was pulled down when on a run into the Colne area giving the Linnets a penalty and Rainford fired home the spot kick to double his side’s lead.
Colne will put the defeat down to experience as their young players seek to improve throughout the coming season and will look forward to next Saturday’s visit to Hyde United in the FA Trophy.