Droylsden 1-2 Clitheroe 10-12-2016
Victory at Droylsden takes us to 5th. By Chris Musson
A cracking game in East Manchester saw Clitheroe leave as narrow but deserved winners.
The first half was almost all Clitheroe as their high tempo, pressing game kept the home team off their stride, with Dimitri Tuanzebe involved in much of the action. On 3 minutes, Tuanzebe drove to the bye line and from his cross, Brad Carroll saw his precise shot turned for a corner. On 8 minutes, a great Charlie Russell corner whipped into the box and somehow it was not turned in. However, one minute later, a loose pass from a Droylsden defender gave the ball to Kurt Willoughby, who dispensed with niceties and banged it in left footed from 20 yards.
Chris Thompson was not a total bystander and around the 20 minute mark, Droylsden had a trio of chances, with Thompson diving at the feet of an attacker who had sprung the offside trap, followed quickly by a second, before a trademark Thompson save finished the set. On 26 minutes, Joe Mitchell dinked Willoughby through and his finish went narrowly wide. Three minutes later, the travelling fans were screaming for a penalty as Tuanzebe was fouled twice in the box, but the referee waved play on. However, he got his rewards when the hapless Droylsden defender decided to do a blind back pass under pressure, only for him to sell the keeper short and for Tuanzebe to walk the ball in.
The second half was scrappier but with far more chances for the home side. Still chances came the Blues' way, with Alex Newby going close with a driven free kick on 59 minutes, but one minute later Wes Benjamin had seemingly shepherded an opposing forward away from goal, only for the ball to pop out leaving a forward free to run on goal and to score across the face of goal into the far corner.
Substitutes Mitch Bryant and Tim Williams went close, but on 72 minutes Thompson dived bravely at a breaking attacker's feet when a goal looked likely. As the pressure built, the referee showed a second yellow to a home player for disputing a decision too vehemently, but this if anything seemed to galvanise Droylsden. Chances were exchanged at either end, with the pick probably falling to Williams as he rushed a shot from a cross when he had time to control the ball.
When the final whistle blew the Clitheroe team knew they had been in a battle, but their unbeaten run was still intact.
Team: Thompson, Bromley, Roberts, Benjamin, Brady, Russell, Mitchell, Carroll, Willoughby, Newby, Tuanzebe.
Subs (used) Bryant, Williams, Churchman
Subs (not used) Walker, Paulat-Brig