COLNE maintained their run at the top of the North West Counties League Premier Division with a 4-2 win over Congleton Town at the XLCR Stadium on Saturday.

The Reds took the lead after only seven minutes when Jason Hart found the net with a superb header into the top corner following a cross from the right wing.


Congleton competed strongly in midfield but the Reds defence coped well to deny them any clear chances.

At the other end Lee Pugh’s diagonal ball found Hart wide to the right of goal but his shot was blocked by Congleton keeper Andy Farrimond. And Farrimond did well to deny Ben Hoskin after 20 minutes when he saved his shot at the near post after a right wing move.

Six minutes later, it was Kieron Kenny who headed away Hoskin’s cross from the visitors’ goalmouth to clear another dangerous attack.

But after 35 minutes, Farrimond was beaten for the second time in the game when Hart broke clear on the left wing and his low diagonal shot found the bottom corner of the net to give the Reds a two goal lead at half time.

Three minutes into the second half, a high ball over the top of the visitors defence allowed Hart to run clear beating the offside trap and he lobbed the ball over Farrimond and into the empty net to stretch Colne’s lead to 3-0.

Within a minute however, Congleton pulled a goal back when Declan Fletcher fired home an angled shot to reduce the arrears to 3-1. As Congleton pushed forward, the Reds defence came under pressure but a good breakaway on the hour saw Hart again go clear and he was only denied a goal by an excellent save by Farrimond in a one-on-one confrontation.

Five minutes later, Congleton clawed back another goal when Fletcher found the net with a close range shot in a crowded Colne area following a corner to reduce the arrears to 3-2. Within minutes, Chris Thompson pulled off a great save to keep out a header by Scott McGowan and was called upon ten minutes later to make another vital save from the same player.

In the closing stages, the Reds came back strongly and Simon Nangle’s 25 yard shot was pushed round the post by a spectacular save by Farrimond. And as the game went into injury time, Danny Boyle’s run into the penalty area led to Chris Anderson being pushed to the ground and the referee pointed to the spot. Boyle converted the penalty to give a final scoreline of 4-2 to the Reds to round off a cliffhanger of a game.

Colne’s local rivals Nelson were beaten 2-1 by Maine Road and they are now eighth in the league. Kevin Leadbetter had given the visitors the lead but two second half goals turned the game around.

Barnoldswick are sixth after sharing the points in a 1-1 draw with AFC Liverpool, with Mark Threlfall equalising late on for Barlick. In the First Division Bacup Borough continued their good form with a 2-1 with over Litherland REMYCA to move into the play-off places.