Colne saw off the challenge of higher league opposition with a solid performance against Ashton United at the Sovereign Play Stadium on Saturday as they continued their preparations for the coming the season. The Reds finished the stronger side and fully deserved the win in a full-blooded encounter.
Ashton looked dangerous coming forward in the opening stages and came close when a dipping shot rattled the Colne crossbar after seven minutes. And Hakan Burton did well to keep out John Pritchard’s close range effort with his feet in the visitors’ next attack.
Colne responded well and began to make inroads with some good build-ups with Connor Hughes just failing to connect with a spectacular overhead kick in the visitors’ goalmouth and Max Hazeldine’s shot clearing the United crossbar. After 25 minutes, Colne took the lead when a clever back-heel by Sefton Gonzales released Aiden Chippendale into the penalty area and although his first shot was blocked by a defender, Chippendale beat keeper John Worsnop with a left foot shot in a one-on-one.
The Reds looked to be in the driving seat but Ashton levelled the scores just ten minutes later when Pritchard found the net with a 30 yard free kick that took a deflection and left Burton stranded.
The game opened up with some end-to-end play and Colne came close on the stroke of half time when Gonzales was denied by a point blank save by Worsnop with the visitors’ defence under pressure.
The second half began in similar style with both sides looking for goals and Gonzales headed just wide of the far post from Chippendale’s searching cross before Hughes’ powerful shot was blocked by Worsnop in another enterprising Colne attack.
But Ashton took the lead after 55 minutes when Pritchard was brought down by a late tackle in the Colne area and the resulting penalty was converted to put the visitors 2-1 ahead. The Reds struck back just three minutes later when Chippendale’s free kick was headed into the goalmouth by Gonzales and fell to Matty Makinson to fire home a low shot and level the scores at 2-2.
Colne pressed forward looking for more goals and Hazeldine shot just wide from a good opening before Billy Hasler-Cregg saw his dipping shot fly inches over the crossbar with the visitors’ goal under pressure. After 80 minutes, a low cross from the right found Gonzales in a central position and his 20 yard shot beat Worsnop’s despairing dive for Colne’s winning goal.
The final scoreline of 3-2 was a fair reflection of the play and Colne’s ability to compete against sides of the calibre of Ashton United looks good for the coming season.