Colne vs Mossley, Evo Stik Northern Premier Division One North, 04/02/17, Holt House
It’s been a while since I wrote one of these, a combination of work, illness and my niece’s 2nd birthday stopping me from getting to football in January, but I’ve finally been to my first match of 2017. In the last blog I stated that I was going to be donating £12 to Movember, however I’ve decided to extend that until the end of the season, just to give someone a chance to score a hat-trick, and to increase the amount I donate.
After a scan of the Non-League Paper, and a look at Google Maps I decided to head to Colne, a place I’ve not been before, and in all fairness not heard of before. I did see signs for Colne when I visited Nelson, but with being fairly new to Lancashire I’ve not explored this far past Burnley before. Colne sits at the end of the M65, and from what I saw is a typical Lancashire town, bordered by rolling countryside. Holt House sits on top of a hill, and offers fantastic views of the scenery around it.
The journey was an easy one, 45 minutes from Chorley, and as I’ve already stated it is directly at the end of the M65. Traffic was light, and I arrived at Holt House at around 2.30pm, I decided to park on a street near the ground, and walked the short distance to the ground. There was only one turnstile open for people paying cash, with the other turnstile being for season tickets, however when a steward noticed the queue he decided to allow people through the season ticket gate, which caused a bit of confusion for the guy on the turnstile, as he tried to tell me I needed to go through the other turnstile, despite the fact that the guy in front of me had also paid cash. Anyway I got into the ground after separating with £7 and that’s all that matters, although I didn’t get a programme, as I didn’t see any signs for programmes as I was walking in, however it did appear that programmes were being sold at the actual cash turnstile, but in the grand scheme of things I was just happy to actually be watching a live football match!
As I’ve mentioned, Colne play at Holt House, which originally was an area with several pitches, before being enclosed in 1975 when Colne Dynamoes joined the Lancashire Combination. Between 1982 and 1985 three stands were built and floodlights were erected, with another new stand being built in 1986. When Dynamoes folded the ground was used by the Colne Royal British Legion Football Club until they folded in 1995, following this the modern Colne FC became tenants. The ground holds 1,800, with 160 seats and space for 1,000 to stand under cover. Behind the goal, nearest the turnstiles, stands a stretch of covered terracing where the Colne fans gathered, with flags draped along the back of the stand. In the corner stands a refreshment hut, and past this stands another, however smaller, covered terrace, which stretches for about a quarter of the touchline, before giving way to uncovered hard standing. On the opposite touchline stands the social club, and the 160 seater stand, which straddles the halfway line. Behind the other goal is a stretch of uncovered hard standing. The pitch is one a noticeable slope, but then again most grounds in Lancashire seem to have a slope on the pitch!
Colne FC were formed in January 1996, six years after Colne Dynamoes folded due to being refused promotion to the Football Conference. The new club joined Division Two of the North West Counties League, and went on to finish bottom of the division in their first season. The club were to finish in the bottom half of the division for every season until the 2003 to 2004 season when they won the division, and were promoted to Division One, with this division being renamed in 2008 to the Premier Division. Colne won the Premier Division in 2016, gaining promotion to the Evo Stik Northern Premier Division One North. In their last five league matches Colne have won three of them, and have lost two, Colne came into this match sitting 8th in the league.
Mossley were formed in 1903 as Park Villa, and initially competed in local competitions, after just one season the club changed name and became Mossley Juniors, a name they kept until 1909 when they became Mossley AFC, and moved to their current home of Seel Park in 1912. The early years of Mossley AFC were spent in the Ashton & District League, before progressing to the South East Lancashire League in 1915, the Manchester Amateur League in 1916, the Lancashire Combination in 1918, before finally becoming founder members of the Cheshire County League in 1919. After more than fifty years in the Cheshire League, Mossley were elected to the Northern Premier League in 1972. During the later 70s the club grew into a formidable force in Non-League Football, as they won successive league titles in 1979 and 1980, following this they finished runners-up in each of the next three seasons. However financial problems and calamitous fortunes saw the club relegated to the NWCFL in 1995, in their first season in the NWCFL the club challenged for promotion but ultimately finished 4th. Mossley faced a spell of being the bridesmaid and never the bride, as they finished 2nd in the league on a number of occasions until the 2005 to 2006 season when Mossley won the Northern Premier League Division One, pipping Fleetwood to the post by two points, and Mossley found themselves back in the NPL Premier Division, however they were relegated in 2007, and entered the NPL Division One North, where they have remained. Recent results in the league have seen Mossley lose four times and win once, this run of form sees Mossley occupy 19th in the league.
Before the game started, I headed to the refreshment hut and bought a Twix and a can of Diet Coke for £1.70, the food smelt wonderful and I did regret not buying some hot food. For the first half I stood to the right hand side of the dugout, and as the game kicked off, I felt a tap on my shoulder, now I’m quite an introvert and I don’t really know a lot of groundhoppers, so I did wonder if someone had recognized me from Instagram, however when I turned round I was greeted by a 6 foot tall chicken, and I began to wonder if I was going to have a Peter Griffin moment, however the chicken was friendly and I didn’t have to re-enact Family Guy. As I’ve said I am an introvert, and I was pleasantly surprised when someone struck up conversation with me, so for the first half I stood and chatted about football with a complete stranger, which is just one of the reasons why I love Non-League football!
Despite kicking up the slope, Colne took early control of the match, and had a good penalty shout turned down within the first five minutes. However they were to take the lead in the 8th minute, as they were awarded a penalty as one of the Mossley players was penalized for handball. Mark Ayres (didn’t he play for Atherton Colleries?) stepped up and placed the ball down confidently, his penalty was well taken and beat the keeper.
It’s been a while since I saw an indirect free-kick, however in the 25th minute the Mossley keeper, Cameron Mason, picked up a backpass, and the referee signaled for an indirect free-kick. The ball was tapped back to an on-rushing Colne player who fired a shot goalwards, however the shot was dealt with well.
Colne doubled their lead in the 28th minute, as Oliver Wood picked the ball up in the area, and calmly slotted it past the Mossley keeper. Despite attacking up the slope, Colne were playing well, and probably should have been further in the lead at this point.
Mossley dragged themselves back into the game in the 31st minute, as the Colne keeper, Nesakhare Aghayere clattered into a Mossley attacker, leaving the ref no choice but to point to the spot. Mossley’s captain, Kyle McGonigle, stepped up and his penalty was well struck.
Half Time: Colne 2-1 Mossley (Ayres 8, Wood 28 – McGonigle 33)
At the half time break, I wandered around the opposite touchline, and took my place to the right of the main stand. The temperature had begun to drop, and I regretted not wearing gloves.
With a single goal between the teams, it wasn’t a surprise to see both sides go on the attack from the start, with Colne playing down the slope it did seem to be that they would be most likely to score.
Mossley made a change in the 55th minute with number 16, Keenan Quansah, replacing number 4, Matty Burke. Their second change came 5 minutes later, with number 6, Kyle McGonigle, making way for number 17, Danny Johnson.
Colne seemed to be in firm control of the game, and they had plenty of chances to increase their lead, however the Mossley keeper was having a good game, and he kept Colne at bay.
One thing that was good to see was the linesman not taking any stick from the players, with one incident leading to the Colne number 11, Michael Morrison, picking up a yellow card. I have to be honest I think the yellow card was harsh, as I feel a talking to would have sufficed, but it’s up to the referee. I can also see why Morrison was incensed as his team had just seen a potential goal ruled out, the ball looked to have crossed the line, or so the Colne players thought (I couldn’t really see to be fair), however the linesman disagreed and the game carried on with Colne leading by a single goal.
In the 65th minute both sides made a change with Colne replacing their number 10, Connor Gaul, with their number 12, Chris Anderson, and Mossley replacing their number 11, Mason Duffy, with their number 12, Sam Robinson. Colne seemed to be struggling for subs as they only named three, with one of them appearing to be a spare keeper.
Mossley’s number 12, Sam Robinson, wasn’t to spend long on the pitch, as he saw red in the 72nd minute, for a terrible tackle. In all fairness I think Robinson had suffered a rush of blood as only a couple of minutes before his rash challenge, he had been bundled into one of the wood fences around the pitch. However there can be no excuse for the challenge he put in, as he was lucky not to have broken the Colne players leg. I’m sure Robinson meant no harm in the challenge, and I’m sure he regrets the sending off, as it made it even harder for his team to get back into the match.
Mossley pushed forward looking for an equalizer but with the man-advantage, Colne soaked up the pressure and emerged at the final with the three points.
Final Score: Colne 2-1 Mossley (Ayres 8, Wood 28 – McGonigle 33)
At the final whistle I made my way out of the ground, unable to feel my hands, feet or face, as it was that cold. As soon as I got in my car I turned the heating all the way up, and began my journey back to Chorley. I soon warmed up as TalkSport announced that Shrewsbury had beaten Bury, which puts us a step closer to safety.
The win for Colne sees them move up to 6th in the league, they are 11 points behind league leaders Lancaster City, and it does seem unlikely that they will catch Lancaster City. However Colne do have a good chance of securing a play-off place, and I hope they do. Colne are a good club, and I enjoyed my visit to Holt House, although I hope it’s not as cold the next time I visit!
Mossley remain in 19th, with Prescot Cables breathing down their necks. Mossley do have a two point cushion between them and Prescot, but they’ll need to find some form soon. Mossley played well today and in all fairness they were unlucky not to come out of this game with a point.
Movember Total: £13.50 (£1.50 from today’s game)
Hat-tricks seen so far: 0
Colne’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Colne_FC
Mossley’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mossleyfc