Colne saw off the challenge of bottom placed Pickering Town in a vital six pointer at the Sovereign Play Stadium on Saturday. The game was played out in typical winter conditions of high wind and heavy rain and although the Reds took an early lead courtesy of an own goal, they had to wait for a very late second in the dying minutes to make the game safe.
Pickering looked lively in the opening exchanges with some end-to-end play but Colne took the lead after nine minutes when Billy Hasler-Cregg’s cross from the right wing was headed into his own net by the visitors’ central defender Matty Turnbull.
Pickering looked for a quick reply but Danny Earl’s header was comfortably saved by Hakan Burton in the Colne goal and the Reds settled into the game with some promising attacks as Lee Pugh and Chris Chantler provided searching crosses into the visitors’ penalty area. After 24 minutes, Pickering keeper Harrison Foulkes made a diving save to push away Connor Hughes’ diagonal shot from the bottom corner of his goal and eight minutes later was again in action diving to turn Eli Hey’s goal-bound shot round the post.
Turnbull came close to adding to his tally of own goals when he sliced a clearance in the Pickering goalmouth but fortunately for him Foulkes was well placed to hold the ball under his crossbar. With half time approaching, Pickering created a good chance at the right end when Elliott Holmes’ free kick was driven across a crowded Colne goalmouth with nobody able to get a touch.
As the second half began, Mamadou Djabi had a great chance to double Colne’s lead when the ball reached him in the visitors’ area but he shot wide with a clear sight of goal. And after 57 minutes, Tony Donaldson saw his goal-bound shot deflected just wide of the Pickering goal as Colne created a series of chances.
After 63 minutes, Hughes’ close range shot was saved by Foulkes in a crowded penalty area as Dave Sherlock prompted a series of attacks looking for the second goal. After 76 minutes, Hey laid the ball back for Chantler in the Pickering goalmouth but he blazed his shot over the bar from close range. And in an action replay five minutes later, Rio Wilson-Heyes lifted his shot over the goal from six yards out after Hasler-Cregg found him with a low cross.
With two minutes left, Colne at last got the second goal they needed to make the points safe when they won a corner on the left and Hasler-Cregg’s inswinger flew over the heads in a crowded goalmouth to finish in the net at the far post.
Not a classic of a game but nevertheless three vital points to lift Colne away from the lower reaches of the league.
Alex Coleman (C)