Clitheroe 2 Darlington 1
The Blues pulled off an excellent victory over title chasing Darlington, in front of Shawbridge’s biggest crowd of the season of 538.
Simon Garner made three changes to last week’s team at Kendal with Cory Bent required by AFC Fylde, Ryan Cattermole and Zack Dale dropped to the bench. Simon came in to midfield with Richard Burns and James Walker coming in on the wings.
It was Darlington who looked the brighter in the early stages and they took the lead after just six minutes. David Dowson took advantage on a rare slip by Roberto Bonaminio and placed the ball cooly past Peter Collinge.
On 14 minutes came the Blues best chance early on. James Walker got round the Darlington right back, to send a perfect low ball for Sefton Gonzales to shoot first time and force keeper Peter Jameson to make an excellent save.
Darlington had two good chances to increase the lead with the pacy Dowson causing the Blues defence a problem or two. On 23 minutes he went clear down the right and after cutting in his shot was just wide. Graeme Armstrong headed over from a free kick on 27 minutes.
The Blues levelled the scores on 40 minutes, when Simon Garner’s corner was palmed away by Jameson, but it fell to Danny Brady who made no mistake from close range.
The second half saw the Blues have the greater possession and they were awarded a penalty on 60 minutes, when Armstrong was adjudged to have handled the ball. Gonzales struck the penalty well and gave Jameson no chance.
Collinge had to dive well to his right to stop another good effort from Dowson on 64 minutes. Dowson was replaced a minute later by the league’s top scorer Nathan Cartman.
Ryan Cattermole replaced Simon Garner on 69 minutes.
Liam Hatch came close to levelling the game on 74 minutes when his shot came back off the post. A minute later the Blues were down to ten men, when Bonaminio was red carded after a tangle with Darlington’s Nathan Cartman. Seydou Bamba went to centre half temporarily before Laquan Esdaille replaced James Walker on 79 minutes, with Seydou reverting to left back.
Despite being a man down , the later stages saw the Blues look more likely to add to their lead. Brady came close to scoring his second on 87 minutes , when his header from a corner was saved one handed by Jameson and it came back off the bar.
Deep into the five minutes of stoppage time, Ross Dent ran on to a long ball clearance and would have been disappointed to see his shot go inches wide.
The final whistle blew shortly afterwards to signal another excellent home performance by the Blues, who have now beaten the League’s top three sides at home this season.
Clitheroe: Peter Collinge, Danny Morton, Seydou Bamba, Roberto Bonaminio, Danny Brady, Simon Garner (Ryan Cattermole 69), Richard Burns, Ross Dent, Sefton Gonzales, Louis Mayers, James Walker (Laquan Esdaille 79). Subs not used; Tom Jackson, Zack Dale, Alex Palffy.
Darlington: Peter Jameson, Adam Mitchell, Ian Watson (Nelson Mota 73), Liam Hatch, Chris Hunter, Tom Portas, Terry Gailbraith, Leon Scott, David Dowson (Nathan Cartman 65), Graeme Armstrong (Alan White 64), Steve Thompson. Subs not used; Gary Brown, Mark Bell.