Not drawing an art form for Colne

Colne manager Steve Cunningham (right) and assistant boss Ted Cockett

Colne manager Steve Cunningham (right) and assistant boss Ted Cockett

First published in Sport Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Blackburn Rovers reporter

THEY do like a verdict down at the XLCR Stadium.

Of the 26 North West Counties League Premier Division matches Colne have played so far this season 14 have ended in victory and 12 have ended in defeat.

That statistic means Colne are the only club in the north of England not to draw a league game this season, indeed not since since April 20, 2013, when they drew 1-1 at Norton United – a run of 30 matches.

In fact of the 661 clubs operating in the top nine tiers of English football – which span 30 divisions from the Premier League down – only six have yet to share the spoils.

Steve Cunningham’s side are among that select band, as are Southern League Division One Central outfit Aylesbury, Ashford United and Deal Town of the Southern Counties East League, Spalding United of the United Counties League Premier Division, and Totton & Eling of the Wessex League Premier Division.

Cunningham, who has been in charge of Colne for two months, is not quite sure why they have yet to take a point.

Not that it bothers him one bit though.

Cunningham said: “If we can win half our remaining games and lose the other half I’ll be happy as that should give us a good chance of finishing in the top 10.

“We’ve got 16 games left and seven of them are against teams in the top 10. We’ve made really good progress and they will be a barometer for us.

“So if we can win eight of them then I’ll be happy. Sometimes a point is no good to you.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are some games where I’d have taken a point.

“But it just seems to be the mentality here that we are not happy drawing and I’d be happy for that to continue for the rest of the season.”

After taking over the Colne hotseat on November 14 Cunningham was told by the club’s board, first and foremost, to avoid being relegated.

There is no serious danger of that.

Colne are well placed in eighth ahead of Saturday’s home clash with 13th-placed Stockport Sports (kick-off 3pm).

Cunningham says his side ‘owe Stockport one’ after they won the reverse encounter between the teams on November 30 thanks to a wonder strike.

Cunningham admits results under his leadership have been a ‘mixed bag’.

Since taking over the reins the 33-year-old has won four and lost four of his eight league matches in charge.

But while he admits there is room to improve on the field, things could not be going better off it.

“When I was interviewed for the job I said I wanted to make Colne a stable family friendly football club,” said Cunningham.

“We’ve put 40-50 on the gate and we’re now getting crowds of 150-160, so we must be doing something right.”

Two of Cunningham’s four defeats came in his first two weeks in the job after leaving his position as Padiham’s assistant manager.

Since then he has slowly but surely been moulding Colne into his own style.

Cunningham has made some impressive signings, including former Clitheroe captain Simon Nangle from Northwich Victoria and Michael Cruz from Barnoldswick Town Both should be on show at home to Stockport on Saturday, as will the suspension-free Jonathan Hodgkinson.

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