Ice Station Albion
By Chris Musson
Against the bleak backdrop of the Pennines and with a gale and increasing amounts of snow blowing across the pitch, the hardy travelling Blues sought what cover they could to take shelter. The players did not have that luxury.
The game had started with blue skies but biting winds, and the home team, buoyed by a midweek win against Hyde, were keen to ride their success. This was not a day for finesse, instead it was all about hoofs downfield, harrying your opponent and trying to guess where the ball would be once the wind took it. With players like Metcalfe and Priestley in the ranks, this Albion side had been assembled to stave off relegation. Chances were understandably rare, and when Danny Brady gave away the ball in the Ossett half on 11 minutes, two quick passes sliced open the defence and Priestley finished smartly past Chris Thompson. On 28 minutes, a floated cross over the defence saw Jack Egan hit it first time on the volley, only to be foiled by a good save. Three minutes later an Albion defender headed a deep Clitheroe cross dangerously close to his own goal, but it went for a corner. Finally, the returning Charlie Russell pinged a good drive just over the bar on 40 minutes.
The second half saw the weather deteriorate markedly, with blizzards coming more regularly. Chances were non existent for either side as they struggled with the basics of keeping their feet and the ball, but as the clock ticked down, Clitheroe sent men forward only to see themselves caught on the counter. Stephen Rigby was comprehensively beaten on the flank only for Brady to foul the forward in the box. The spot kick was converted and a wholly undeserved gloss was then put on the game when Thompson was left one on one after another hoof forward, and he could not prevent the striker rounding him and tucking it home.
It is hard to learn much from the game. It should certainly have taken place but the conditions were about as bad as it is possible in which to stage a game. The outcome was not to our liking, but the lads’ heart cannot be faulted.
Team : Chris Thompson, Caldon Henson (Jacob Gregory), Stephen Rigby, Ian Rowlands, Danny Brady (c), Ross Dent, Charlie Russell, George Hughes, Kurt Willoughby, Jack Egan (Adam Bolton), Dimitri Tuanzebe. Subs - Jacob Gregory, Adam Bolton. Not used - Brad Carroll, Joe Mitchell.