REPORT | Colne 1-0 Widnes
By Callum Chadwick
Hard-working Widnes narrowly beaten at Colne
Reece Webb-Foster’s striker four minutes into the second half denied Widnes their first away point of the season as Colne earned a narrow victory despite the Reds being reduced to 10-men late on.
The Whites went in at the interval all-square despite being the better side for large periods of the first half, but Webb-Foster pounced early in the second period to clinch three points and extend Colne’s 100% record to start the season although Jonny Hodgkinson saw red for two bookable offences late on.
Co-bosses Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey made two changes to the side that beat Market Drayton Town last time out, with Michael Grogan in for the suspended Sam Sheen while Dale Korie-Butler was handed a recall in place of George Lomax who dropped to the bench.
Widnes had the game’s first sight of goal inside the opening two minutes, with Ben Hodkinson finding space in the area from Towey’s corner only to have an effort charged down.
Moments later, Hodkinson again threatened but he could only force a corner after Phil Doran and Chris Lomax combined well on the left flank.
Steve Cunningham’s men had won all four competitive outings to start the season, with impressive away wins at both Pickering Town in the FA Cup and Glossop North End over Bank Holiday weekend.
Cunningham’s Colne carried a constant threat on the counter-attack and were content with Widnes having the lion’s share of possession. Connor Hughes threatened for the hosts, cutting inside from the right only to blaze high and wide of the target.
The away side were looking the most likely however and good initial work from Ben Cartwright and Korie-Butler looked to set Hodkinson on his way but good defensive work by Colne preserved parity, with Doran firing a follow-up wide.
A hint of frustration began to set in for Colne with both Luke Higham and Hodgkinson booked for poor challenges, while Widnes’ Danny Ventre also incurred the wrath of referee Peter Simm, receiving a yellow card of his own.
It was a really positive first half performance from Widnes’ point-of-view, but a slow start to the second period ultimately cost the visitors as Colne took the lead.
Alexander Pope threaded a pass through to Bradley Lynch who forced an initial save out of Richie Mottram with Webb-Foster arriving late to lash home on the volley to give the Reds the lead.
Widnes skipper Kev Pollard had a penalty shot turned down on the hour-mark as he was bundled over in the area moments before Alex Curran went down under the challenge of Doran but the referee wasn’t interested in either appeal.
For all their endeavour, Widnes struggled to test Colne ‘keeper Hakan Burton with Korie-Butler having their best chance, shooting over from 25 yards.
George Webster and Jamie Rainford were introduced from the bench as Widnes went in search for an equaliser. It was a search that would be aided by the dismissal of Hodgkinson for a second yellow card for dragging Mottram to the turf as the keeper tried to launch a counter-attack.
Widnes cranked up the pressure with a late rally but Burton was once again relatively untroubled. Cartwright came closest but his header was relatively tame and comfortably gathered by the Colne shot-stopper.
The Whites are back in action a week on Monday, hosting Kidsgrove Athletic at Townfield. Kick-off 7.45pm.