Prescot Cables 3 - 2 Clitheroe
Clitheroe's hopes blown away
With a gale blowing down the pitch and the rain becoming more monsoon like as the day progressed, it was a huge credit to both teams that they put on a such an entertaining spectacle. The big disappointment was the sluggish start to the game which saw Prescot race into a two goal lead before the Blues had woken up.
With only a couple of minutes on the clock, there was a scruffy passage of play in the Clitheroe half, with a few scuffed half chances cleared, before a gap opened up and the home forward placed his shot wide of Chris Thompson. The Blues were kicking with the gale and Alex Newby was the first to try and master the conditions, with a smart run and cross after 10 minutes. However, it was the home team who increased their lead on 16 minutes when a sublime pass down the right hand channel was quickly driven into the box. Ian Rowlands slid to cut out the ball, but with the ball hitting his trailing arm, the referee blew for a spot kick, which was easily converted.
Prescot were generally adapting the best to the conditions with their slick and pacy passing game and ex Blue Lloyd Dean was causing damage with his vision. However, on 29 minutes, after a rare Clitheroe foray forward, the home keeper ran out of his box to gather the ball on the bye line, but his clearance was weak and Brad Carroll collected the ball as the keeper gained ground and aimed for goal. His shot was under powered but a deflection from a defender’s head gave the shot pace and height and eluded the keeper. One minute later Thompson made a trademark point blank save and the home team were making real progress down their right, causing problems at will. On 40 minutes, a superb driven Prescot cross was met by a flashing header which whistled over.
Clitheroe started the second half better and as the rain started to pelt down, the wind eased a fraction and Clitheroe looked at their best. However, on 53 minutes, a Prescot cross from the left picked out a player on the right hand edge of the box, who steadied himself and buried his shot. Three minutes later the Blues should have pulled one back as Brad Knox found himself the recipient of a suicidial backpass, but with the keeper exposed he failed to control the ball and the chance was lost.
The travelling fans were celebrating a goal on 65 minutes when a slick Clitheroe overlap saw substitute Danny Byrnes pick out Charlie Russell, whose shot seemed goal bound, but instead the keeper foiled him at the death. The second goal came seven minutes later when a corner was knocked around before it landed at Russell’s feet and he leant back and lobbed the keeper with a delicious finish. The last 15 minutes were high entertainment with chances at both ends. It seemed fated for the Blues to repeat their last minute equaliser from last season, but it was not to be.
A point would not have been a fair reflection of play and Prescot showed why they are knocking on the play off door.
Team : Chris Thompson, Jacob Gregory, Stephen Rigby, Ryan Ellison, Ian Rowlands (c), Charlie Russell, Brad Knox (Joe Mitchell), Brad Carroll, Kurt Willoughby, Alex Newby, Adam Bolton (Danny Byrnes). Subs - Danny Byrnes, Joe Mitchell. Not used - Michael Samson, Robbie Bromley.