Clitheroe hold league leaders to a stalemate
Clitheroe become the first team to take a point away from the Help For Heroes Stadium this season.
Clitheroe went toe to toe with the runaway league leaders in blustery conditions and were agonisingly close to doing the double over the Cheshire side.
Starting Kurt Willoughby for his debut, the Blues made a positive start as they kicked with the lively wind for the first half. David Lynch was relishing the battle with his wing man Ross Dent by his side, and it was Lynch who went close first within five minutes. Willoughby also muscled his way through a huge Northwich defence although there was no end product. On six minutes, Clitheroe had the best of their two key chances as Lynch swung in a wicked corner which the keeper somehow parried on to the underside of the bar, but in the ensuing scramble, the ball could not be forced home.
On 13 minutes, a deep left wing cross from the home side was narrowly volleyed wide. On 14 minutes, a Barski free kick from near the bye line caused havoc as the keeper was forced into another desperate parry under the bar. Slowly but surely the powerful Vics side were getting into the game and former Blue Jordan Williams engineered the ball on to his left foot and thundered it across the goal on 20 minutes. On 26 minutes another deep cross from the Vics left saw Harries lose his footing in the box, but Barski stepped in to thump the ball clear. On 33 minutes, a driving run by the lively Barski saw him slalom through but he could just not unleash his thunderbolt shot. Four minutes later, it was Vics who burst down the right and from a flashing cross, the diving header just skimmed the post. As the half drew to a close, it was the Blues who looked strongest and Sefton burst free only to be adjudged harshly to have fouled his opponent.
The second half saw the tempo go up a notch and Vics take the lion’s share of play.
On 46 minutes, Woodhead fumbled a high ball under pressure, but that was his only blip all day in increasingly difficult conditions, as the rain stated to set in. Willoughby was still playing gamely on his debut and on 50 minutes, his smart shot forced a scrambled save as his shot flashed off the surface. Two minutes later it was the Blues who were on the defensive as Chris Lynch cleared off the line after brilliance from Jordan Williams.
On 54 minutes Harries went close, but in a flash the ball was at the other end with a striker heading firmly into the ground forcing the ball to bounce over the bar when the goal was at his mercy. Woodhead made a succession of good solid saves, but it was clear that it would take a touch of genius to beat him. On the 75th minute it almost came, but he pulled off a wonderful point blank save. Lively winger Ryan Steele came on for Bakkor and the travelling Blues sensed that he could spring the solid home defence. That chance came on the 85th minute when he turned in a flick on from Sefton, only for the assistant to flag for offside in a hotly debated decision.
When the whistle blew, both sides knew they had been in a game. Every Blue acquitted themselves well, but the MoM accolade goes to Jimmy Heywood for keeping Williams unusually quiet.
Woodhead, Heywood, Barski, Lynch (Chris), Brady, Dent, Bakkor, Lynch (David), Gonzales, Willoughby, Harries Subs Benjamin, Walker, Steele, Bonaminio