Clitheroe stroll to victory over doomed Millers
An explosive start from the visitors could not mask the difference in quality between the two sides.
New Mills got off to a dream start this afternoon at Shawbridge opening the scoring through Ashley Woodhead, who calmly finished into the bottom corner as the ball broke to him in the Clitheroe penalty area within the first minute of the game.
However, despite the encouragement the early goal gave to the visitors, Clitheroe refused to drop their heads and fought back instantly. First, Sefton Gonzales showed great vision in the Millers’ penalty area to tee up the onrushing Ross Dent whose strike was saved comfortably by Oliver Martin, before Brandon Barski nodded down an aerial ball for Louis Mayers who forced another smart stop from the Millers’ keeper.
Then, on 10 minutes, Clitheroe made a deserved breakthrough as Mayers whipped in a perfectly weighted, left-footed cross for Sefton Gonzales to volley into the back of Martin’s net, putting the hosts back on level terms.
The equaliser only added to Clitheroe’s confidence and six minutes later a period of sustained pressure then led to Ross Dent’s neat through ball picking out Scott Harries, who rushed into the box to place the ball beyond Martin and hand the hosts a 2-1 lead.
New Mills then responded very quickly in an attempt to level the scoreline just a minute later as Michael Boateng found space on the edge of the box before firing his shot towards goal – only to see Benjamin Woodhead expertly tip his effort round the post. This aggressive reaction from the visitors wouldn’t intimidate Clitheroe though and in the 25th minute, Louis Mayers dashed to the byline to pull it back for Ross Dent who slid home from six yards out to make it 3-1.
The intensity of the game then seemed to drop slightly with Clitheroe in comfortable control of proceedings, whilst New Mills were forced to make an early change replacing Danny Browne with Jonathan Rand.
The Millers were pegged back in their own half for most of the remainder of the first period and 10 minutes before the half time interval Danny Brady steered home a Simon Garner corner from point blank range to heap further misery on the side currently sat bottom of the league.
At half time the score was Clitheroe 4-1 New Mills.
The second half started very similarly to how the first half ended. Clitheroe were dominating possession and New Mills offered very little. On two separate occasions the visitors were nearly punished as Sefton Gonzales twice got into promising positions to produce two excellent saves from Oliver Martin.
The Blues then looked to freshen things up making two substitutions just ten minutes apart seeing Simon Garner replaced by David Lynch and Kurt Willoughby coming on to replace Brandon Barski.
With that, attention then turned to New Mills centre half, Jonathan Rand who clashed with Clitheroe’s Ross Dent in the middle of the park, which emphasised the visitors’ frustration.
By this point the Blues were home and dry. Substitute, Kurt Willoughby was causing problems for a tiring Millers defence, setting up Ross Dent who dragged his shot wide before Willoughby himself pounced on a weak back pass to slot home through the legs of helpless keeper, Oliver Martin.
After the fifth goal, Clitheroe were then able to kill the game with calm possession accompanied by a slow tempo, which allowed the Blues to pick up their first home victory in the league since November of last year. New Mills meanwhile remain bottom of the league on just one point.
Final Score: Clitheroe 5-1 New Mills
Man of the Match: Ross Dent
Clitheroe Starting XI: Woodhead, Heywood, Walker, Lynch, Brady, Garner, Harries, Dent, Gonzales, Mayers and Barski.
Clitheroe Subs: Bonaminio, Benjamin, Lynch, Bakkor and Willoughby.
New Mills Starting XI: Martin, Williams, Coates, Browne, Pritchard, Murray, Woodhead, Constantine, Boateng, Anane and Hopper.
New Mills Subs: Rand, Burywood, Holness, Golden and Gibbs.
By James White.