‘Exciting, nerve wracking and thrilling’ were just a few of the words that Steven Cunningham used to preview Saturday’s top of the table clash against Runcorn Linnets.
With everything riding on the game going into the fixture, the Reds manager was understandably nervous; and after losing to the league leaders earlier in the season, the pressure was on for the Reds to lay down a marker in front of a huge crowd.
As a Jay Hart inspired performance gave the Reds all three points in front of a crowd of 554, Cunningham has begun to dream that a historic promotion from the North West Counties could still be on the cards.
Kicking every ball from the dug-out, Cunningham has explained why the occasion as a whole was one he will never forget, as he told the clubs official website that he was delighted with the manner in which the Reds dispatched Runcorn Linnets.
“I was over the moon on Saturday, not just because of the win but because it was such a great day for the club. It showed how far we’ve come in just two years and I’m so proud of my players for standing up and answering everything that was thrown at them.
“There’s still long way to go this season as Linnets are a very good side but to go head-to-head with them just showed that Colne Football Club are real contenders this season.”
Walking into the ground three hours before the game, Cunningham witnessed a stadium that was already buzzing with excitement.
As kick-off loomed, the noise from the terraces was deafening and as 500 fans cheered the Reds on to victory, Cunningham thanked the Red Army faithful for being the 12th man in the game.
“I knew it was a big game already but the atmosphere just intensified that. The stadium had a big game feel too it and when I came out of the dressing room and heard the roar I knew something special was going to happen.
“The Linnets fans played their part and both sets of supporters were a credit to Non-League football as they made the spectacle what it was.”
Cunningham continued; “The fans were like a 12th man to us and we need to build on that support now, as hopefully the supporters can get us over line with eight games to go.”
Going into Tuesday’s game against in-form Atherton Collieries, Cunningham is under no illusions that a win could take his side top of the league.
Playing a team with promotion hopes of their own, the Reds manager finished by stating that his side are now capable of winning the title; despite their being many more twists and turns to come between now and the first week of May.
“Tuesday is going to be another huge game and if we don’t get the right result then Colls will be right back in the mix again.
“We need to win all of our eight matches if we are to win the league as we know Linnets won’t drop many points and the pressure is still very much on.
“I’m taking things one game at a time, every game gets bigger and harder as we get closer to the end, especially as this is new territory for us. I’ve doubted the lad’s character at times, but they’ve proven me wrong and recently we’ve shown that we are now capable finishing on top spot.”
Interview: James Burch