Kidsgrove Athletic 3 - 2 Clitheroe
By Chris Musson
Early FC Cup exit for the Blues.
It was a trip down memory lane for the Blues as they returned to Kidsgrove after a decade, but there was to be no happy outcome as the changes made by Simon Haworth failed to improve Clitheroe's dismal record in the FA Cup.
On an impressive but high bouncing pitch, Clitheroe failed to come to terms with the conditions and contributed to a limp first half display by both teams.
The only two incidents of note belonged to the home side. On 11 minutes, Kidsgrove slung in a right footed free kick from the left, and the Blues' defence was static as a home defender netted from short range. Two minutes later, it could have been worse as another Kidsgrove dash down the right saw a cross flash across the goal, which eluded all the home forwards.
The second half was infinitely better and Clitheroe shaded possession and chances. However, the first chance on 48 minutes was created by the home skipper Malbon, a solid centre forward who had played at a much higher level. He drifted in from the right and laid the ball off, only to see the shot skim across the face of the goal.
On 53 minutes, a superb flowing Clitheroe move was rewarded by a free kick, which Kurt Willoughby converted with panache. However, four minutes later, Malbon span Luke Holden, held him off as he approached goal and thumped it home.
On 69 minutes, Joe Mitchell was involved in a fracas with a home forward and as play resumed, a hopeful Kidsgrove ball saw a home forward run into he box only to be flattened by Robbie Bromley. Malbon dispatched the penalty.
One minute later, Ollie Crankshaw moved in from the right and lashed a superb shot which went in off the far upright.
Clitheroe upped the pressure and on 79 minutes, Mitchell bustled towards goal and laid the ball to Charlie Russell who shot wide. 3 minutes later Mitchell had a tremendous strike tipped over the bar. Further chances came, but the visitors could not force a replay.
Team : Chris Thompson, Robbie Bromley, Matt Atherton (Stephen Rigby), Ryan Ellison, Luke Holden, Charlie Russell, Joe Mitchell, Brad Carroll (c), Kurt Willoughby, Adam Bolton (Jordan Prescott), Oliver Crankshaw.
Subs - Stephen Rigby, Jordan Prescott.
Not used - Ryan Cattermole, Michael Samson, Danny Eccles.