Collingham ran out 2-1 winners against Renishaw Ranger in their Central Midlands North Division clash at Station Road
Collingham went into their fixture with Renishaw Rangers knowing league leaders Clay Cross Town had dropped points against Staveley in the Central Midlands League North division’s first Friday night fixture of 2019.
Sitting eight points behind Clay Cross before kick-off, Collingham narrowed that gap to five points, and still have two games in hand, which could see them go one point clear at the top.
However, with Retford — who are two points behind Collingham and have one game in hand — breathing down their necks, a win was the only result that would have kept Collingham’s title dreams alive.
Having beaten Renishaw 18-0 in the same fixture in 2017, and 6-0 in the reverse fixture, Collingham may have expected to walk over their fifth-placed rivals, but it proved to be a tense affair, with just one goal separating the sides.
The orange and black hoops of Collingham showed their intent early on as Ryan Rushen broke down the right hand side and his delivery saw Sidnei Costa poke over the ball over the bar from no more than seven yards out.
In the 27th minute, Collingham’s Alex Oliver found space on the right and his pinpoint cross found Chris Self at the far post, who was pushed in the back as he met the cross, and gave the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Self converted the penalty to give Collingham the lead.
But, ten minutes later, the visitors ruined the mood at Station Road as they pulled themselves level.
Craig Purcell clinically converted his side’s pacey counter-attack.
The second-half saw the visitors gain more confidence as a defensive mistake nearly resulted in an own goal, but Rhodes was on-hand to clear the ball off the line.
Collingham, who had continuously threatened, saw their persistence finally pay off, as Craig Bridge’s corner was met at the far post by Simon Biggs.
The floodlights failed with ten minutes to go, but after the short stoppage, Collingham comfortably saw the game out and it was lights out for Renishaw.