Brady back with a bang
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe 4-1 Ossett Albion
With the Shawbridge pitch proving to be its usual resilient self, a healthy crowd gathered to watch a great match, including 25 from 1874 Northwich, who had been denied a game by a late cancellation at Padiham. It also heralded the return of skipper Danny Brady after his stint in the Conference North.
Albion had no won one of their previous nine away games, but with much talk about wholesale changes in the squad, it seemed unlikely that this was the team which had worn their Amber shirts in previous games. Albion looked lively down the flanks and on the break and the Clitheroe machine, so smooth against Hyde, was taking its time to fire. An Ossett forward had a good chance on the spin after 10 minutes and Chris Thompson had to make a superb save two minutes later after lax defending had left a striker unmarked in the box. Alex Newby was showing most for the home side and on 14 minutes his run and cross found George West, but he could not get any power on his header.
Things turned for the worse on 29 minutes, when Ian Rowlands failed to trap a cross and the ball squirted to a grateful forward who squeezed it past Thompson. The deficit did not last long as Brady marked his return with a towering header from an outswinging corner. More chances came and Newby slipped in Kurt Willoughby, but his shot was smothered by the keeper. Even Joe Mitchell got in on the action as he took the ball from inside his own half, accepted a return pass and then drilled the ball narrowly past the post. Albion were not taking it lying down though and continued to probe down the left, making a great chance in injury time.
The visitors started the liveliest after the break and Thompson was called on to deal with a couple of half chances. However, on 64 minutes, Willoughby received a pass close to goal and as he tacked across the box, the visiting keeper flattened him. Willoughby dusted himself down and smashed home the spot kick. On 75 minutes, Willoughby was dropped on the edge of the box but could not make the most of the free kick.
However, he made up for it on 84 minutes when Rowlands was bundled over as the keeper came to punch and Willoughby sent the keeper the wrong way with his penalty. It then fell to Newby to put the icing on the cake as he exchanged passes with sub Danny Byrnes at pace, as they sliced open the visitors’ defence, before he slotted home the final pass.
Team : Chris Thompson, Jacob Gregory, Stephen Rigby, Danny Brady (c), Ian Rowlands, Charlie Russell, Joe Mitchell, Ross Dent (Brad Carroll), Kurt Willoughby, Alex Newby, George West (Danny Byrnes). Subs - Danny Byrnes, Brad Carroll. Not used - Robbie Bromley, Ryan Ellison.