Welcome to 2018
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe start 2018 with three points.
Clitheroe ground out a hard fought victory to welcome in the New Year in atrocious conditions, although the condition of the pitch at the end was a credit to the ground team.
Kendal had most of the play in the first half as Clitheroe battled through the fatigue barrier after 3 games in 8 days. Chris Thompson made a good save on 2 minutes and on 12 minutes ex Colne man Gaul burst down the left and fired a shot across goal, which was only denied by a Stephen Rigby block. Kurt Willoughby went close on 20 minutes when he lobbed the stranded keeper from 20 yards, but his shot was just over. Jacob Gregory had a good run on 25 minutes and his cross was nodded wide by Alex Newby. Chances were at a premium for the rest of the half but Gaul for Kendal was at the heart of most danger.
As ever for the second half, Clitheroe found renewed energy. It was the visitors though who had the first chance and nodded narrowly wide from a deep cross. On 58 minutes, Willoughby had his long distance effort tipped round the post, and from the subsequent corner the replacement keeper made a stunning point blank save.
Four minutes later, Newby drifted in from the right and his firm shot could only be partially saved as it crept over the line. On 74 minutes, Willoughby received the ball on the right and his first time half volley gave the keeper no chance. Slowly but surely, more chances came the home team’s way, with Newby putting the icing on the cake in injury time after receiving a through ball and making no mistake with his finish.
The final scoreline might have flattered the Blues, but eight wins in nine tells its own story.
Team : Chris Thompson, Jacob Gregory, Stephen Rigby, Ian Rowlands, Danny Brady (c), Ross Dent (Jamie Hodgson), Joe Mitchell (Brad Carroll), Charlie Russell, Kurt Willoughby, Alex Newby, George West (Danny Byrnes). Subs - Brad Carroll, Danny Byrnes, Jamie Hodgson. Not used - 0.