Colne 3 Great Harwood Town 0
November 13th 2004
Colne keep climbing after derby
COLNE moved into fifth place in the North West Counties Division One with a comfortable 3-0 derby win and stretched their unbeaten run to seven games.
The visitors, already under constant pressure from the start, did not help their cause by having captain Anthony Green sent off early in the game.
Colne were straight on the offensive with first Ian Simpson and then Carl Haworth going close.
A James Webster corner created another chance before the breakthrough came on nine minutes when again Webster delivered a dipping corner kick for Craig Whittaker to head home.
More pressure came on Town with Paul Walker having a drive tipped over by goalkeeper Bobby Harris before Chris Ingham left the keeper helpless with a drive into the top corner to put the Reds two up.
More pressure was mounted on Harwood in a half where home keeper Ross Baxter was a spectator and Colne should have increased the lead before the interval.
Harwood’s ten men dug in to defend doggedly in the second half and the only breakthrough came from the penalty spot when Steve Cunningham was brought down in the box. And although Bobby Harris made a fine save from Haworth’s spot kick, Simpson followed up to smash the ball home for the third. Colne were in total control and used the opportunity to give fringe players a run-out.
Substitute David Gray had the best chance to increase the lead but fired over from close range. The last twenty minutes was a scrappy affair as Colne played the game out without a threat from the visitors.
ROBINS 0 COLNE 0
Colne arrived at the Showground on the back of 8 straight wins despite having to play 3 games a week for the past month. During that run, they have notched 26 goals and conceded just 7 to leave themselves only one win away from the 2nd Division Championship.
Cheered on by the majority of the 183 crowd, Harwood’s biggest of the season, Colne made their intentions clear by going on the offensive right from the kick-off. Shooting at every opportunity, the Robins defenders had to be at their best to stop the visitors from adding to their 90 goal haul for the season.
The pitch was very heavy after a weekend of wet weather, torrential rain throughout the Monday morning, and a downpour an hour before kick-off. Despite this, both sides played some fine football and only excellent defending prevented any goals in the first half. Ex-Harwood player Paul Walker, who had a tremendous game at right-back, was closest to breaking the deadlock with a right foot shot from the edge of the box which grazed the post.
The second half followed a similar pattern although the Robins enjoyed more possession than in the first half.
Paul Mashiter had the ball in the net after a terrific run which saw him beat two defenders, only to see his effort harshly ruled out for offside. At the other end, Gizon and Walker both had fine long range shots which were just off target. Just after the hour mark Harwood were reduced to ten men when Neil Kennedy brought down a Colne defender on the edge of the visitors goal area as he looked to make a quick break out of defence. Having already been booked, he didn’t even wait for the card and made his way towards the dressing room. Sadly, Baxter in the Colne goal decided that the punishment was not enough and gave Harwood defender an ‘ear-bashing’ which almost caused a set-to before the players were pulled apart. Despite the set back, the pattern of the game didn’t alter too much, although the visitors did make good use of the extra man with their fine passing. Harwood defended from the front and on the few occasions when Bobby Harris was called into action, he dealt admirably with everything that high scoring Colne could throw at him.
At the final whistle the two teams were given a tremendous ovation by both sets of supporters after an excellent local derby which was played in a great spirit, hard but fair. The result left Colne needing a win at Leek in their next game two days later, though Harwood needed the three points on offer to have any chance of securing one of the top four promotion places.
COLNE 1 GREAT HARWOOD TOWN 1
Colne went into the game as league champions after the 2-0 win at Leek C.S.O.B. three days earlier. Harwood’s only hope of promotion was to finish fifth and rely on one of the leaders being refused admission to the first division.
On a beautiful sunny day when admission had been cut to £1 and with the Championship Trophy to be presented after the game, the crowd of 282 was slightly disappointing, though it was about five times the size of Colne’s first attendance of the season.
In the first half, Colne attacked down the huge slope and immediately put Harwood under pressure. A long range shot just cleared the cross bar before a Webster free-kick was headed over keeper Harris by the unmarked Gizon with several static defenders looking on. Colne piled on the pressure hoping to add to their 94 league goals, and came close on two more occasions until the thirteenth minute when in their first attack Harwood equalised. A mix up in the home defence presented Mashiter with a chance and when his shot was saved, Andy Taylor was on hand to thump home the loose ball. Although Colne continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, the Robins came into the game more and Mashiter in particular caused panic in the home defence on more than one occasion. With the excellent Gizon probing in midfield, and the prolific Howarth and Simpson up front, Harwood needed to defend superbly and this they did, forcing Colne to shoot from long distance. Bobby Harris in the visitors goal dealt easily with efforts from Simpson, Potts and Howarth. Just before half-time, Colne keeper Baxter was injured making a last ditch save and left the field limping at the break.
After playing so many games recently, Colne’s manger Nigel Coates brought on all three substitutes at various times during the second half but after the third, Steve Whittaker crashed into the concrete surround at the side of the pitch and suffered a broken leg. The game was held up for 30 minutes while he was treated by first aiders, before an ambulance came onto the pitch and took him to hospital.
Sam Pope, who had had a quiet first-half, relished playing down the slope and caused havoc down the left wing beating his marker on every occasion and putting over several great crosses. Even when Colne doubled up on him, it did nothing to slow his progress. Unfortunately for Harwood, he was injured and had to be replaced. Sensing victory, Harwood manger John Hughes brought on two more attackers but despite this the winner wouldn’t come. Despite being down to ten men, Colne still attacked at every opportunity and only the brilliance of Harris prevented a home victory. Three outstanding saves enhanced his reputation as the finest keeper in the second division. For the second time in six days, the honours were shared and the celebrations started for the Champions after the final whistle. Over the 38 league games, Colne have proved to be the best team in the league by some distance and deserve every credit for their fine football.