Rain fails to dampen spirits
By Chris Musson
With the doom-laden predictions about Storm Aileen ringing in everyone’s ears, the last thing everyone wanted was a huge snarl up on the M6. That, of course, is what we got, but the team not only landed, it also thrived on the greasy surface at Stormy Corner, which was a credit to the home team’s groundsman.
These are turbulent times for Skem, with an unwanted ground move shortly on the cards, and they could not have wished for a better start than the shove in the back by Ryan Ellison on a home forward in the box, leading to a fifth minute penalty. The lead did not last long and as the rain came down, Alex Newby surged down the wing and his shot was fumbled and gratefully followed up by Ollie Crankshaw. Seven minutes later, under little pressure, a home defender ballooned a clearance high into the air. Kurt Willoughby, loitering on the edge of the box, steadied himself before volleying goalwards.
A fumble by the keeper meant that the Blues took the lead, which they never looked like losing. Clitheroe were playing superb one touch football, and on 28 minutes, Crankshaw hurdled tackles and then released Newby down the right, and even with unmarked men in the box, he had every right to chance his arm as his shot fizzed across the goal. Newby was proving a real handful and after he had forced a corner on 37 minutes, the ball from Robbie Bromley went to the far edge of the box, before aspirant forward Ellison lashed in Clitheroe’s third.
The second half was a mirror image of the first in terms of possession, although Skem had the ball in the net from a glanced header, but it was ruled offside. On 53 minutes, Willoughby assumed responsibility for a free kick on the edge of the box, and his kick went like a tracer bullet into the top corner. Two minutes later, Charlie Russell had a screamer skim the bar. Crankshaw had another one on one saved on 67 minutes, but despite a number of lazy tackles by the home side late in the day, Clitheroe controlled the game to the final whistle. The forward line will win the plaudits for the result, but it was the midfield engine room which dominated proceedings, with Russell outstanding from the trio.
Team : Chris Thompson, Robbie Bromley, Stephen Rigby (Matt Atherton), Ryan Ellison, Adam Anson, Charlie Russell (Ryan Cattermole), Joe Mitchell, Brad Carroll (c), Kurt Willoughby, Alex Newby (Adam Bolton), Oliver Crankshaw. Subs - Matt Atherton, Ryan Cattermole, Adam Bolton. Not used - Jacob Davis, Michael Samson.