An 83rd minute strike by Danny Boyle condemned 1874 Northwich to defeat in their last game of the 2015/16 season and ensured Colne returned home as NWCFL Premier Division champions.
Shorn of five regular defensive players, due to injury and suspension, 1874 field an unusual looking backline but suffered little in comparison to their title chasing opponents. At times a scrappy game as play became frantic as score updates came through with Colne’s title rivals Runcorn Linnets winning at Padiham and the nerves began to jangle.
Needing a point to finish top, unless second placed Linnets won by six goals, Colne started the game strongly but were constantly denied by committed defending by the makeshift 1874 back four, who led by man of the match Craig Farnworth held firm. Goalkeeper Greg Hall was in commanding form saving well with his feet to stop Boyle from converting in the 11th minute and dealing with everything thrown at him.
For all their attacking Colne, who survived an early scare when Mike Brandon pulled a shot narrowly wide, had to be careful not to be caught out at the back. Brandon headed over the bar from close range on the stroke of half time.
The second half kicked off with 1874 on the attack. Matt Beadle had a goal bound shot blocked and Colne keeper Nosakhare Aghayere held onto a Tyler Edwards shot from the edge of the area after Colne failed to clear a free kick from their area.
Normal service was quickly resumed with Colne starting to dominate, although not creating as many goal scoring opportunities as in the first half. Boyle held off Farnworth to shoot narrowly wide after running onto a through ball.
Wharton and Farnworth clashed clashed 15 minutes later chasing a long ball into the 1874 area. With both players on the ground the referee initially pointed to the penalty spot, but with 1874 fearing a red card for Farnworth the referee was over ruled by an assistant who signaled a free kick in 1874’s favour.
The decisive moments arrived seven minutes from time. Joel Melia broke down the right wing cut the ball back to Boyle who drove his shot past Hall, who got a hand to it but could not prevent the goal which sparked wild celebrations on the pitch and amongst the Colne followers in the 539 strong Barton Stadium crowd.
Wharton had the opportunity to settle Colne’s nerves in the 90th minute but blasted high over the bar. Despite 1874’s best efforts Colne survived the closing stages and were presented with the championship trophy on the pitch after an absorbing contest which kept both sets of spectators interested throughout.
1874 – Hall, J Woolley, Mason (Brooks 59mins), M Woolley, Farnworth, Chappell (Simpson 88mins), Jackson, Edwards (Riley 82mins), Beadle, Brandon, Wellstead. Sub not used Lomas.
COLNE – Aghayere, Craig, Pugh, Coleman, Morrison, Nagle, Jordan, Anderson, Wharton, Boyle (Taylor 88mins), Morning (Melia 70mins). Subs not used Stockdale, Hoskin, Burgess.
GOAL Colne Boyle 83
ATTENDANCE 539 REFEREE Aaron Jackson
MEN OF THE MATCH SELECTED BY MATCH SPONSOR STEVE PARKER
1874 – Craig Farnworth COLNE – Danny Boyle
|Sat 7 May 2016||3:00 pm||NWCFL Premier Division||2015/16|
|St Lukes Barton Stadium|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|#||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|2||Jack Woolley 16||0||0||0|
|6||Neil Chappell 14||1 (33')||0||0|
|8||Tyler Edwards 12||0||0||0|
|12||George Riley 8||0||0||0|
|14||Robbie Simpson 6||0||0||0|
|16||Ben Brooks 2||0||0||0|