Colls opened their first ever hectic Evo-Stik holiday schedule with a home game against old friends and rivals Colne FC. It was a match up of the previous two NWCFL Premier Division Champions and Michael Clegg’s team had returned to Atherton with a deserved 2-0 triumph in the reverse fixture which was played out on the opening day of the season. Alas the East Lancashire got their revenge with a smash and grab raid for an early Xmas present.
Colls shuffled their pack from their last outing against Droylsden a fortnight previously with Gareth Peet, Danny Lambert and Chris Lynch missing through unavailability, injury and Illness respectively. Glenn Matthews, Jordan Cover and Darrhyl Mason returned to the line up.
Colls started exquisitely and make light of the testing pitch conditions. On five minutes Cover played through Mason who shot over. Ben Hardcastle had a shot well saved at the near post by the experienced shotstopper Hakan Burton and then headed across goal and wide following a pinpoint Cover delivery.
Burton made a stunning reflex stop from a point blank Cover header and he also came out on top with the same player in a one on one situation. The keeper deserved the adulation from the Colne contingent for a first class opening half hour display but he was ably assisted by the black n white stripes not being clinical enough. Buoyed by somehow still being on level terms the visitors almost took a shock lead but Jake Kenny excellently cleared a close range effort off the line with Adam Reid beaten.
Colne were more on their game after the break and took the lead in twenty minutes into the half. From a second consecutive corner Christopher Lynch reacted quickest to a low ball in and prodded home from ten yards out. Colls continued to see more of the football but didn’t look like they could breakdown a resolute defence. With twelve minutes remaining a wasted Colls free kick turned into a lightening quick Colne breakaway which ended with Matty Morgan caressing home. Hardcastle nodded a header wide before Reid had to be on his game to keep Colne from increasing their lead.
If you don’t score you, you don’t win football matches! For the second game on the spin Colls spurned chance after chance before being well and truly punished. Without sounding parochial the game should have been over with at the interval. However Steve Cunningham’s team took their opportunities and thoroughly enjoyed their after match jig with the Red Army.
Colls: Adam Reid, Jake Kenny, Glenn Matthews, Josh Messer (Luke Giverin 78’), Danny Lafferty, Brad Cooke (c), Ben Hardcastle, Sebastian Julien, Jordan Cover, Iain Howard (Matthew Fearnley 78’), Darrhyl Mason – Substitutes: Luca Navarro, Theo Roberts, Luke Giverin, Matthew Fearnley
Colne: Hakan Burton, Jordan Hilton, Christopher Lynch, Jonathan Hodgkinson, Waqas Azam, Matty Morgan, Simon Nangle, Alex Curran, Bradley Knox, Ollie Crankshaw, Danny Wilkins – Substitutes: Michael Taylor, Will McMurtie, Elijah Bello, Steve Cunningham
Match report by Emil Anderson