By James White
There is no question that it has been a fantastic week for Clitheroe, with the Blues booking themselves a place in the next round of the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy before bringing Hyde United’s impressive unbeaten streak to an abrupt end.
Tuesday night saw the Shawbridge side travel to Ashton Athletic where their exciting display resulted in a deserved 3-0 win. Ashton won the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy last season, beating Radcliffe Borough 2-1 in the final at the Macron Stadium, so eliminating them from the competition with such dominance was certainly an impressive accomplishment for the Blues.
Clitheroe took the lead 7 minutes before half time, as top scorer Kurt Willoughby unsurprisingly got his name on the score sheet once again, before second half goals from Newby and West sealed the victory and ensured Simon Haworth’s men a place in the next round.
Saturday’s home clash with Hyde United represented another tough challenge for the Blues, with the visitors boasting a 100% unbeaten league record heading into the match. However Clitheroe, and particularly Kurt Willoughby, showed no signs of nervousness despite the fine form of their opponents.
After failing to convert a couple of early chances, Hyde were punished on 30 minutes as Willoughby smashed home a sublime free kick to give the home side the lead heading into the half time interval.
This was always going to be a difficult fixture for the Blues to win, and there was no surprise as Hyde applied a lot of pressure early in the second half, forcing a number of saves from Clitheroe Keeper, Chris Thompson. But despite Hyde’s positive response, Willoughby’s quality once again proved too much for the visitors as he doubled his tally for the afternoon with his 13th league goal of the season. The ex AFC Blackpool man’s brace proved to be the decisive difference and at full time the score was Clitheroe 2-0 Hyde United.
It has not been an ideal start to this season for Clitheroe, with the club still sitting in a modest 15th place. However, the quality of these last 2 results and performances show that the Blues have far more to offer. This Saturday sees Ossett Albion visit Shawbridge, and with the away side currently second from bottom having failed to win any of their last 4 league fixtures, Clitheroe have a real opportunity to make it 3 consecutive wins, especially with top scorer, Willoughby in such excellent form.
So head down to Shawbridge this Saturday and get behind the Clitheroe boys!
Updated 20:20 - 23 Nov 2017 by Michael Barker