Prescot Cables 2 - 2 Clitheroe
Real character in the side to fight back from two goals down.
By Chris Musson
Prescot had not won a game since they beat Clitheroe in a top of the table clash in September, but looked anything but a bottom 3 side as they went close to securing those elusive three points.
After torrential overnight rain, the pitch looked heavy and liable to cut up, and it was clear that the Blues would have to win the inevitable physical battles if they wanted to prevail. The task was made harder after three minutes, when with the away side looking like they wished they were still in the dressing rooms, Prescot attacked down the right. Their forward swapped the ball to his left foot, took two paces forward and arrowed his shot into the far corner.
Having conceded so early, the Blues could not find any kind of form or fluency and other chances came Prescots way, courtesy of ex Blue Lloyd Dean and the always dangerous Rob Doran. On fifteen minutes, Clitheroe almost drew level as a wicked corner from James Walker was headed on to the base of the post by Danny Brady. Still Prescot pressed and five minutes later, Doran fluffed an overhead kick but then found himself with the ball at his feet, facing the keeper.
So surprised was he, that he virtually passed the ball to Chris Thompson. Seven minutes later, another defensive gaffe by the Blues saw a Prescot player run towards goal but balloon his effort over. As the half progressed, Clitheroe started to show some kind of form. On 29 minutes, Joe Mitchell had a great run down the right followed by a superb cross, which the home defence barely dealt with.
On 35 minutes, Clitheroe had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled offside for a last second deflection from Alex Newby to a goal bound shot from Mitch Bryant. Two minutes later, Kirk Willoughby flashed a sharp free kick diagonally across the goal. The first half whistle went, but the half had belonged to the home team.
Clitheroe started the second half brightly, with a couple of half shots, and on 52 minutes after a superb Brad Carroll run, Bryant should have done better. A dangerous cross at the other end caused havoc in the Clitheroe defence as the central striker managed to scoop the ball over the bar. On 57 minutes, the Blues should have been level.
Willoughby received the ball and muscled his way past two defenders before releasing Newby, who forced a save but in truth had to score. There then came a 10 minute spell from Prescot, which saw Thompson pull off two superb flying saves. However, on 69 minutes, even he had no response to a low driven cross which wriggled out of his grasp only for Doran to stab home.
At this point, Simon Howarth shuffled the pack, bringing his three substitutes on, including Adam Bolton for his first league action, and adopted a far more attacking formation. The change was almost instantaneous. It was now the home side which was back pedalling. On 83 minutes, Brady bulldozed into the box and pulled a goal back.
Three minutes later, Carroll saw an outrageous diving header flash wide. Still Prescot were not finished and Thompson had to pull off another superb save from a pile driver. And with extra time ticking down, Clitheroe finally earned a point as Tom Williams surged down the left and drove in a great cross for Dimitri Tuanzebe to glance his header powerfully into the goal.
Cue tremendous scenes as the referee blew the final whistle. Not the Blues' finest performance, but evidence of real character in the side.
Team - Thompson, Roberts, Walker, Rowlands, Brady, Russell, Mitchell, Carroll, Willoughby, Newby, Bryant.
Subs (used) Tuanzebe, Bolton, Williams
Sub (not used) Paulat-Brigg