Colne stepped up a gear in their preparations for the coming season with a fine win over Vanarama National League opponents Chester at the Sovereign Play Stadium on Saturday. Goals by Sefton Gonzales and Tony Donaldson put them in the driving seat and Chester’s consolation of a last minute penalty came too late to affect the result.
The Reds got off to a confident start and took the game to their opponents from the kick off. Donaldson fired a good shot across the face of goal after only three minutes and Gonzales and Richie Baker tested visiting keeper Russell Griffiths in further Colne attacks in the opening stages.
A moment of danger came after 12 minutes when Jamie Morgan appeared to break clear up the right wing but Colne keeper Hakan Burton raced from his area to tackle the Chester winger and clear the threat. And as play swung back to the other end a Gonzales cross was half cleared to Aiden Chippendale who forced a good save from Griffiths.
After 24 minutes, Daniel Elliott made a good run into the Colne area and his shot was blocked by Lee Pugh at the expense of a corner before Gonzales cleared the danger with a typical defensive header at the near post. A minute later Chester had strong claims for a penalty when Anthony Dudley appeared to be pushed to the ground on his run into the Colne penalty area but the referee waved aside their appeals.
After 34 minutes, it was Colne on the attack as Gonzales brought a good save from Griffiths with his shot on the turn from inside the visitors’ penalty area. And the Reds took the lead just four minutes later when Marcus Poscha’s diagonal ball was met by Gonzales coming in at the far post for a downward header into the bottom corner of the net.
As the second half began, Chester forced a series of corners and the Colne defence did well to clear the danger from some high crosses into their goalmouth.
As play swung to the other end after 56 minutes, Chippendale got to the bye line to the left of the visitors goal and his cross beyond the far post was headed back into the middle by Max Hazeldine where Donaldson reacted quickly to find the net with a shot off the underside of the crossbar to double Colne’s lead.
In the end-to-end play, Chippendale and Waqas Azam provided further danger with good crosses and Andy Hollins’ header was cleared from the goalmouth in a good period of pressure for Colne. But at the other end, Matthew Waters shot over the Colne goal from a good chance and Elliott saw his header come back off the underside of the crossbar in a close call for the Reds.
In the closing stages, Chester pushed forward looking to reduce the arrears but Burton produced a great save to block Dudley’s shot in a one-on-one confrontation after 85 minutes. In the last minute of the game a late tackle brought down George Waring in the Colne area and Dudley fired home the resulting penalty to give his side some reward from the game.
Colne will be well satisfied with this performance and look forward to welcoming Padiham to the Sovereign Play Stadium next Saturday with a revised kick off of 3pm.