COLNE made a mockery of Ramsbottom United's fine home form on Saturday to claim a shock 4-0 win, writes Jon Haslam.

Mark Fell's men had won seven of nine matches at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium in all competitions before being downed by their struggling East Lancashire rivals.

Storm Brian was certainly a leveller, and Colne seized their opportunity to move up to 18th place in Evo-Stik North, away from relegation trouble, while the Rams dropped to ninth, two points outside the play-off places.

There is no doubt 4-0 flattered the visitors, who opened the scoring against the run of play in the 18th minute then picked off the Rams with three goals in the final 20 minutes as the home side pressed forward.

To rub salt into the wounds, all four goals were scored by former Ramsbottom players, with the final hammer blow coming after Colne had been reduced to 10 men.

It summed up Rammy's week after a floodlight failure led to the abandonment of an Integro Cup tie against Evo-Stik Premier outfit Stalybridge Celtic the previous Tuesday, just moments after the home side had scored to take a 1-0 lead.

“It’s a disappointing result for us, we didn’t take our chances early in each half and it cost us," said Fell.

"Credit to Colne, they were dangerous on the counter attack and made us pay.

"We’ll lick our wounds and come back stronger for the experience, I’m sure. 

"Football is a funny old game. We’ve gone from dominating a team from the league above on Tuesday to capitulating (against a team in the bottom half of our division) on Saturday.

"It’s a lesson for us, we’ll learn and move on.” 

While there is no doubt Ramsbottom were unfortunate, the four goals were all preventable and further highlighted the side's deficiencies in defence, which have hampered them time and again away from home.

Before the visit of Colne, Rammy's league position had been bolstered by their home form, making up for the fact they had claimed just two points from a possible 18 on the road.

But the frailties that had seen them fail to win a game on their travels came home to roost.

Visiting keeper Hakan Burton kept out early chances for Eddie Moran and Jamie Rother, while Phil Dean sent a sizzling shot inches wide.

But Rammy's first defensive lapse was punished when Lee Pugh intercepted a sloppy pass in midfield and set up Danny Wilkins to fire in the opener.

Wilkins rattled the Rams' post at the start of the second half before the pendulum swung in the home side's favour.

Half-time substitute Sam Heathcote was inches away from converting a cross, before Greg Daniels brought out a fine save from Burton.

Jerome Wright then went on a mazy run only to see his final effort drift wide of the post, and then put in a fine cross that just evaded Rother's darting run into the box.

Rammy's failure to fashion an equaliser was then punished as the under-worked home defence failed to stamp out an attack down their left flank and Olly Crankshaw drove home from a tight angle.

Colne added a third on 79 minutes when Crankshaw reacted quickest after Danny Taberner saved Wilkins' shot to stab home the loose ball.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Wilkins was sent off for use of an elbow, but the Rams conceded a fourth goal with seven minutes to play.

Lee Gaskell caught Taberner off his line with a lob from 40 yards that was caught by the wind and swirled into the top corner, evading the home custodian's desperate attempts to tip the ball over.