COLNE fought out a hard-earned draw against an enterprising Abbey Hey team at the XLCR Stadium on Saturday as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

The two sides were locked together on 10 points going into the fixture and they both competed strongly in the first half.


But the fiercely contested nature of the match meant the nearest either side came to a goal was on the stroke of half time when Ben Hoskin’s cross into the visitors’ goalmouth was headed against his own crossbar by Abbey Hey defender Darren Talbot.

The second half turned out to be a more lively affair and it was Colne who also most broke the deadlock on 52 minutes when Hoskin saw his shot pushed onto the inside of the post by visitors’ keeper John McIlwaine before bouncing to safety across the goalmouth.

The Reds took the lead after 62 minutes when Danny Boyle netted his sixth goal of the campaign.

He left a posse of defenders in his wake as he burst into the penalty area and chipped past the advancing keeper into the net.

From the restart Abbey Hey launched a good counter attack and Jonathan Hardy struck the Colne crossbar with two headers in quick succession.

It was now end-to-end and Colne had a chance to double their lead when Chris Anderson show narrowly wide from close range, while at the other end Hardy was just off target as he stretched to reach a dangerous cross in the Reds penalty area.

Just as it seemed that Colne were edging towards another three points the visitors found an equalised on 82 minutes.

A free kick for Abbey Hey out on the right gave Sam Freakes the opportunity to level in stunning fashion.

He swerved the free kick from 30 yards out over the heads of everyone in the Colne goalmouth and into the far top corner to level the scores at 1-1.

The visitors found themselves immediately down to 10 men though as Kiarno Samms was given his marching orders following the goal, with the linesmen spotting an incident in the aftermath of the strike.

Both sides battled on looking for a winner but in the end a draw was a fair result and the sides remain locked together in fifth and sixth in the North West Counties Premier Division.

Having won their first three league games of the season Colne have had to settle for just two points from their last two games and they will be looking to get back to their winning ways when they face local rivals Padiham in a midweek derby at the Arbories on Wednesday night (7.45pm ko).