Burscough 0 - 1 Clitheroe
Three points despite the elements.
Burscough 0 Clitheroe 1
With a gale and driving rain blowing straight down the pitch, it was clear that mastering the conditions would decide the outcome of the game as much as raw ability. Clitheroe triumphed on both counts.
Kicking with the wind in the first half, it only took four minutes for Alex Newby to test the home defence with a fiercely driven free kick, which whistled through a forest of legs. Newby had another free kick on 20 minutes, after Kurt Willoughby had been dropped on the edge of the box, and this time he drew a tremendous save from the keeper. Two minutes later, Dimitri Tuanzebe slipped Newby through on goal, but he failed to beat the advancing keeper.
Newby made amends three minutes later when he drove to the bye line, pulled the ball back and found Brad Carroll on hand to pick his spot from 10 yards. Other chances came and went for the visitors and Burscough were limited to a speculative drive on 35 minutes and then a clear chance on 40 minutes when Danny Brady put his body on the line to block a shot.
Ian Rowlands did not come out for the second half due to injury and Wes Benjamin slotted in at centre back. The number of half chances for the home team increased, but it was Clitheroe who had the better quality opportunities. On 61 minutes, Newby and Willoughby both found themselves played through from a Tuanzebe flick on, and both deferred to the other. Burscough’s single best chance came on 70 minutes when a home forward hooked a volley goalwards giving Chris Thompson the chance to make a trademark save.
Newby was substituted after being elbowed in an ugly off the ball incident, which was not seen by the officials, and was shortly followed by Carroll who sustained a gash to his shin. On 90 minutes, Charlie Russell was fouled on the edge of the box, and Willoughby saw his thunderous free kick cannon against the foot of the post.
When the referee blew for full time, the healthy travelling contingent signalled their approval. It was not pretty, but character does not come with a ribbon round it.
Team: Thompson, Bromley, Roberts, Rowlands, Brady, Russell, Mitchell, Carroll, Willoughby, Newby, Tuanzebe.
Subs (used): Benjamin, Bryant, Walker.
Subs (not used): Williams, Paulat-Brigg