New Mills 3 Clitheroe 3
A dramatic stoppage time equaliser by New Mills finished off a fine comeback after the Blues had raced to three goal lead in the first half.
Simon Garner had to make an enforced change as Cory Bent had been selected for the Lancashire FA Youth team. Jason Hart move to the right flank and Louis Mayers played up front with Sefton Gonzales.
The cold weather which had engulfed Lancashire during the week thankfully hadn’t reached the Derbyshire Peaks, so the game went ahead in fairly pleasant conditions for January.
New Mills started the brighter and Alex Palffy had to make a couple of saves early on from Daniel Douglas-Pringle.
First chance for the Blues came on 16 minutes. A good move started by Gonzales whose through ball to Mayers was laid back to Hart whose shot was saved by New Mills keeper Aaron Ashley.
On 21 minutes New Mills had a header cleared off the line from a corner, but it was from the clearance that the Blues counter attacked and took the lead. Jason Hart send in an excellent cross and Sefton Gonzales stooped low to head the ball past Ashley.
The Blues started to take control of the game and Hart had another good effort at goal on 26 minutes, which went over the bar. The second goal came two minutes later and it was another good team build-up with Gonzales, Seydou Bamba and Richard Burns all involved, before David Lynch crossed from the right and Hart’s shot was parried by Ashley but ended up in the back of the net.
Roberto Bonaminio received a yellow card on 38 minutes, which was to prove costly for him later.
On 41 minutes it was goal number three for the Blues. An inch perfect through ball from Simon Garner sent Gonzales clear and his turn and shot was placed brilliantly in to the bottom corner.
Right on half time, Bamba was fouled on the edge of the box. From Hart’s free-kick, Gonzales again headed just over as the Blues finished the half three goals to the good and well on top.
Half time; New Mills 0 Clitheroe 3
The second half got off to a disastrous start when a mix up between Palffy and Danny Brady resulted in Brady putting the ball into an empty net for an unfortunate own goal.
A strange incident on 51 minutes saw a yellow card given to David Lynch, who went in for a 50/50 challenge with Aaron Chalmers, who went down in some pain. The game wasn’t stopped until some players signalled that Chalmers needed attention. Rather oddly the referee decided to book Lynch, despite not deeming the incident worthy of a free kick. Thankfully Chalmers wasn’t as seriously injured as first thought and he continued after further treatment.
The Blues play became decidedly ragged and questionable bookings for both Danny Morton and Garner increased the frustration which was growing by the minute.
Louis Mayers with a header and Richard Burns with a cross cum shot which just went wide of the post were the best opportunities for the Blues in the second half.
Bonaminio was given a second yellow for a clumsy challenge on 68 minutes and as he made the long walk to the dressing room, Laquan Esdaille came on to play at the back with Mayers being the unfortunate sacrifice.
Danny Wilkins then replaced Jason Hart on 70 minutes, but the home team were pushing forward to make the extra man advantage count and it wasn't long before Daniel Forde scored New Mills second goal on 77 minutes.
With the game entering stoppage time it looked like the Blues were going to hang on for the points. But in the fourth minute of added time, substitute Matt Landregan was given far too much time and space as he shot past Palffy to give the home team a point.
A disappointing outcome for a game which looked won for the Blues at the interval. Simon Garner was extremely unhappy with the second half performance and let’s hope the team learn from that for future games.
Clitheroe: Alex Palffy, Danny Morton, Seydou Bamba, Roberto Bonaminio, Danny Brady, Simon Garner, Jason Hart (Danny Wilkins 70), David Lynch, Sefton Gonzales, Louis Mayers (Laquan Esdaille 68), Richard Burns. Subs not used, Ross Dent & James Walker.
New Mills: Aaron Ashley, Shaquille Antoine-Clarke, James Moss, Dominic Welsby, Warren Gaskin, Aaron Chalmers, Ryan Hopper, Daniel Forde, James Kirby, Daniel Douglas-Pringle, James Hampson. Subs not used: Carl Fitton & Andrew Ramwell.
Referee: Darren Rogers