Witton Albion 2-3 Clitheroe
Author: Chris Musson
Finished on a High
With Witton’s ground looking an absolute picture, it was a fitting setting for the last game of the campaign, as Clitheroe finished the season and the Garner/Parr reign with an essentially comfortable win.
Barely had the game kicked off than Michael Hampson was released down the right and having taken the ball close to the bye line he screwed the ball into the goal from an acute angle, with Sefton Gonzales hovering for a tap in, which in this case was not required. On five minutes Jimmy Walker swung a great left foot cross in from a throw in and the ball was begging to be converted, but to no avail. Three minutes later, Gonzales shielded the ball, turned and threaded a shot through a forest of players’ legs, only to see it hit the post. Scott Harries then got in on the act and cut in from the left before hitting a firm bending drive just over the bar. Given the huge Blues’ dominance, it was probably no surprise that on 15 minutes a deep Witton free kick blew in with the wind and the resultant header stranded James as it soared over him. On 21 minutes, a deep Witton cross to the back post saw James called upon to make a smart save from the resultant header. On 26 minutes, at the other end, a ball broke loose from a Clitheroe corner, only for Danny Brady to hook the ball on to the post. The next passage of play was more even, and James did well on 31 minutes to save a free kick low to his right hand and when the ball popped out, he snapped up the return. On 38 minutes, James was called upon again, and he saved superbly after a hoofed Witton clearance bounced twice before a forward hit it on the full.
The second half was even more clearly Clitheroe. On 55 minutes, Brady body surfed his way forward at a corner and firmly headed home an inswinging corner. Three minutes later, Gonzales muscled his way through but his shot was turned for a corner. On 69 minutes, Willoughby took control of a free kick 25 yards out, and his firm low shot just eluded the keeper at his right hand post. On 81 minutes, the home side were given a soft penalty, which was converted, but the game was long gone.
Seventh place and dreams of what might have been, but the ovation from the travelling fans at the end was warm and deserved. The season has been a credit to the managers and players and after three months’ rest, the lads will look to go again under new leadership.
Team: James, Heywood, Walker, Barski, Brady, Dent, Hampson, Lynch, Gonzales, Willoughby, Harries Subs: Bonaminio, Garner, Mayers, Benjamin.