Seadogs have upper hand
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe were looking for an eighth straight win, but had to make do with a thirteen man squad, reduced by seasonal bugs. Boro, meanwhile, had got over the shock of losing at home to Hyde and were looking to continue their proud home record at their new stadium in the town, complete with plastic pitch.
Boro’s tactics were made for the surface, and with pacy forwards, including their talisman, Max Wright, from the win at Shawbridge, it was clear the Blues would have to adapt quickly. Shadow boxing quickly turned to calamity on seven minutes, as Stephen Rigby undercooked a header back to Chris Thompson, and Wright nipped in and shot home without even rounding the keeper. Two minutes later, Thompson saved bravely at a forward’s feet as Ian Rowlands shepherded him away from goal.
The scores were level two minutes later, when an Alex Newby corner was headed goalwards by Danny Brady before Brad Carroll cleverly wrong footed the keeper and headed it beyond him as he looked to gather. The home side gathered themselves and it only took five minutes before ex Farsley man Walshaw, advanced from the left and held off Rowlands before steering it in across Thompson. The temperature turned up and the Blues had to be at their best.
Thompson had a superb finger tip save on 19 minutes and five minutes later tipped over a fierce shot from distance. The last ten minutes, however, belonged to the Blues. On 35 minutes, Kurt Willoughby raced down the right and his low cross was scooped goalwards by Newby, only to force a good save. Brady had a glancing header go narrowly wide on 37 minutes and two minutes later, Newby had a shot flash across goal left.
Clitheroe maintained their dominance in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, with the pressure culminating in a Rowlands header being cleared off the line. Slowly but surely the home side came back. On 65 minutes, a near post Scarborough corner was headed narrowly over. On 68 minutes, substitute Danny Byrnes lost possession deep in Boro territory, and in a flowing counter attack, the Blues were outnumbered and on the back foot and could do nothing to stop a solid strike from distance. The game was put to bed as a contest three minutes later, when from nothing the Boro left back set himself up for a volley on the apex of the Clitheroe box and screamed a shot beyond Thompson.
There was no disgrace in defeat to a very strong Boro side roared on by a partisan crowd. The Blues now need to lift themselves for the New Year’s Day fixture and their fourth game in 10 days.
Team : Chris Thompson, Jacob Gregory, Stephen Rigby, Ian Rowlands, Danny Brady (c) (Charlie Russell), Ross Dent, Joe Mitchell, Brad Carroll, Kurt Willoughby, Alex Newby, George West (Danny Byrnes). Subs - Danny Byrnes, Charlie Russell. Not used - 0.