RAMSBOTTOM’S visitors Colne won the battle of two form sides going head to head on Tuesday night as they raced into a three-goal lead inside the first half-hour.

After five consecutive league victories and no goals conceded in more than 480 minutes Rammy shipped three to fall to a 3-1 defeat that leaves them fifth in the table.

Colne almost took the lead on seven minutes, Sam Ashton saving from Alex Curran and former Rams defender Billy Priestley seeing his header blocked on the line.

The visitors took a deserved lead when Mamadou Djabi released Brad Lynch. When his shot was saved by Ashton, Curran was first to the loose ball and fired into the bottom corner of the net.

After the Rams’ response – Nic Evangelinos and Kieran Lugsden putting efforts off-target – Colne doubled their advantage when Curran set up the unmarked ex-Bury midfielder Richie Baker for a tap-in with the goal gaping.

Things would get even worse for the Rams when a defensive mix-up was seized upon by Waqas Azam who sent Joshua Hines in on goal, his finish all but sealing victory with less than a third of the contest played.

Tom Kennedy’s free kick almost brought Rammy’s first goal but Lugsden’s header was again off target and Colne went in for the break three goals to the good.

With little change early in the second half Chris Willcock sent on Anthony Donaldson and Ryan Ellison for Eddie Moran and Lugsden, and Donaldson almost made the breakthrough on the hour mark but the retreating Priestley managed to scramble his goalbound shot off the line.

After Jamie Rother fizzed an effort wide of the target, Colne threatened to extend their advantage, Lynch cutting in from the left wing and arrowing his finish narrowly wide.

Ramsbottom continued to push forward but rarely threatened Reds keeper Hakan Burton.

It took until 10 minutes from the end before they got on the scoresheet. A series of shots were blocked by the Colne rearguard before the ball fell kindly to Evangelinos who beat Burton for his 20th strike of a very productive season.

Sadly, the late goal did not spark a spectacular comeback from the Rams as Colne managed the game efficiently.

Late in the day, Burton was forced into a diving save to deny Ruben Jerome before Evangelinos had the game’s final attempt, clearing the crossbar from 20 yards.

It was a disappointment after their excellent 4-0 win at Trafford at the weekend, but it was only Rammy’s third league defeat in 18 league outings under Willcock and the manager will be looking for a positive reaction when Widnes visit the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.