Salford City 2 Clitheroe 1
The Blues travelled to league leaders Salford City and despite falling to a 2-1 defeat, they gave the home side an uncomfortable afternoon.
Five changes were made after Easter Monday’s home defeat against Padiham. Danny Brady made a welcome return after injury and Simon Garner, Ryan Cattermole, Joey Mullen and Richard Burns all returned to the starting line-up. Louis Mayers started his three game suspension.
The Salford City side managed by former Blues favourites Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, contained four former Blues in Owen Roberts, Jordan Hulme, Gary Stopforth and sub keeper Martin Fearon.
Despite the spring sunshine, there was a strong wind blowing across the ground and the Blues elected to play with the wind in the first half. That was evident in the 3rd minute when after Sefton Gonzales had forced a corner, Garner’s in swinger curled straight across the six yard box and out of play.
On 7 minutes Ross Dent laid the ball back perfectly for Joey Mullen who forced Salford keeper Jay Lynch to make a save.
Moments later, Jordan Hulme, was sent clear down the right wing. He sent a low cross in to the box, but it eluded the oncoming Salford forwards and was cleared away.
Dent was in the action again on 17 minutes when after a short run his shot from the edge of the box went just over.
Just as the Blues were gaining a foothold in the game, Salford took the lead on 18 minutes. Dominic Smalley’s surging run down the right ended with Hulme’s shot coming back off the post. The ball ended up at Phil Dean’s feet and he slid the ball to Danny Webber to finish from close range.
Simon Garner was shown a yellow card on 23 minutes for a full blooded challenge on Scott Burton.
A minute later Salford were awarded a penalty when Ryan Cattermole was punished for a very slight shirt pull on Hulme. This was spotted by the referee, despite no appeals from the Salford players. Gareth Seddon blasted the kick past Callum Jakovlevs to make it 2-0.
A corner from Mullen on 32 minutes again caught the wind forcing Lynch to make a save.
On 38 minutes, Jakovlevs was in the action again saving a shot from Seddon.
Half time 0-2.
Ross Dent had a great opportunity to get the Blues back in the game on 53 minutes, but didn’t connect properly with his shot which went wide.
James Walker replaced Richard Burns on 56 minutes and took his place on the left of midfield, followed shortly afterwards by Jason Hart replacing Simon Garner.
On 68 minutes, Mullen’s shot was deflected away for a corner. Within a minute the 18 year old got on the scoresheet for the third successive game. Given time and space he shot low to Lynch’s left and the ball beat the Salford keeper to give the Blues some hope of getting a result.
Salford’s response was to make a triple substitution immediately after our goal. Despite the Blues having the better of the possession, the Salford defence was on top form and were a match for everything the Blues could throw at them. Sam Madeley and Hulme had late chances for the hosts but neither keeper were forced to make another save in the match.
A more than decent performance from the Blues players who can all be pleased with their performance against the league leaders, in front of a crowd of 726 boosted by the free admission charge.
Clitheroe: Callum Jakovlevs, Danny Morton, Ryan Cattermole, Laquan Esdaille, Danny Brady, Simon Garner (Jason Hart 62), Ross Dent, David Lynch, Sefton Gonzales, Joey Mullen, Richard Burns (James Walker 56). Subs not used, Seydou Bamba, Robbie Bromley & Jack Hargreaves.
Salford City: Jay Lynch, Dominic Smalley, Owen Roberts, Scott Burton, Steve Howson, Chris Lynch, Jordan Hulme, Gary Stopforth, Danny Webber (Sam Madeley 70), Gareth Seddon (Matt Chadwick 70), Phil Dean (Grant Spencer 70). Subs not used, Paul Linwood & Martin Fearon.