Slow start proves too much
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe 1-3 Colwyn Bay - 16 September 2017
Clitheroe took their regulation time to slip into gear, but by the time the motor was purring, they were two goals down and playing an increasingly desperate game of catch up.
It could have been so different after only two minutes when Ollie Crankshaw burst down the right and from his cross a defender made superb goalward contact only for the Bay keeper to pull off an astonishing reflex save. Two minutes later the complexion changed as a weak tackle on a Bay forward saw him stumble with the ball before carrying on, only for the referee to award a penalty.
This was duly converted. Things got worse four minutes later when Jacob Davis inexplicably looked to lay the ball back from the half way line, only to see his ball split the Clitheroe defence and to release two visiting forwards. The outcome was a simple second goal. Kurt Willoughby had a chance to pull back the deficit after a superb dinked pass over the defence by Joe Mitchell, but his lashed shot pinged against the apex of the woodwork. Bay shaded the rest of he half and the mood was subdued at half time.
Clitheroe came out a changed team in the second half, with an all action display, which threatened to blow away the visitors. On 46 minutes, Willoughby drove a left foot shot across the face of the goal, but no touch was forthcoming. On 51 minutes, Davis set up Alex Newby on the edge of the box and his sweet volley forced another great save. Two minutes later, more Clitheroe pressure saw Ryan Ellison run down the left and his scudding cross was tucked home by Newby. The tempo upped again. Willoughby just failed to loose off a shot, whilst Newby forced another save. On 58 minutes, Willoughby split the defence with a sublime pass leaving skipper Brad Carroll bearing down on goal. Inevitably, his shot was saved by the inspired keeper.
The equaliser was getting closer and the home fans watched in disbelief as a Crankshaw run and cross on 70 minutes saw a defender panic a clearance, only to see the ball skew on to the woodwork. Two minutes later, Robbie Bromley set up substitute Ryan Cattermole for a stinging shot which was saved at full stretch. However, with the ball released by Bay, the bouncing ball saw Matt Atherton misplace his pass, and in classic counter attacking fashion, a quick burst down the left and a full length diving header silenced the home crowd.
Still Clitheroe pressed. Carroll drove through the defence on 76 minutes and chipped his shot just over the bar. Willoughby forced another save from a piledriver on 81 minutes, before he was dropped in the box after another point blank save from the resultant corner. To general astonishment, a penalty was not awarded. Newby still had time to force another great save, but the game was lost.
This was a superb game of football for the neutral but Clitheroe's mistakes are just proving too costly at the moment.
Team : Chris Thompson, Robbie Bromley, Matt Atherton (Adam Bolton), Ryan Ellison, Jacob Davis, Charlie Russell (Ryan Cattermole), Joe Mitchell, Brad Carroll (c), Kurt Willoughby, Alex Newby, Oliver Crankshaw. Subs - Ryan Cattermole, Adam Bolton. Not used - Michael Samson, Danny Eccles.