Clitheroe 1 - 0 Colwyn bay
Clitheroe extend unbeaten run with hard fought victory
By Chris Musson
With skipper Danny Brady tying the knot, loanee Ryan Ellison made his debut at the centre of defence against a Colwyn Bay side, which had dispensed with the services of its manager only the week before.
The game was not one for the casual fan but was a war of attrition between two good sides who each wanted to nudge their way into the play off berths.
Much of the visitors attacking threat came from ex Blue Scott Bakkor, and he would be a constant thorn in the home team's side. The opening exchanges were quite even. Dimitri Tuanzebe was first to show within two minutes, before he was dropped on the edge of the box and the Alex Newby free kick made the keeper fumble but with no one following up.
Within minutes, Bay were up the other end sending in a teasing cross which was hastily cleared over the bar. The visitors almost hit lucky on 14 minutes when a Bay cross was clearly cushioned with the hand before the subsequent shot forced a smart save from Chris Thompson.
Slowly, Bakkor was starting to impose himself and dragging his team mates with him. On 30 minutes Thompson made an excellent wrong handed save after Bay had got behind the defence. To this point, Clitheroe's only creative outlet was Brad Carroll and he had the best home attack after 35 minutes as he burst down the right, only for his driven cross to elude his team mates. However, the half ended with two great Bay chances. On 41 minutes, Bakkor sprang the offside trap and flashed his shot across the face of the goal. Three minutes later, a spot of pinball suddenly saw two Bay strikers free. There were so surprised, they fluffed their lines.
After, the break, in true Clitheroe fashion, the Blues came out rejuvenated, with Tuanzebe having his best 45 minutes in a blue shirt. From a corner from the right on 46 minutes, a flicked header from a Clithereo player allowed Tuanzebe to chest the ball home in a melee. 1-0.
Seven minutes later, Newby looked set to score as Tuanzebe and Robbie Bromley combined to pick him out and as he steadied himself for a shot, he was foiled by a despairing dive. Two minutes later, Carroll wanted a piece of the action and thumped a 25 yarder on to the bar, before on 60 minutes Kurt Willoughby chested down a searching ball at pace, only to pull it across he keeper.
The home pressure was starting to tell as the visitors resorted to ever more desperate tactics and the card count started to rack up. On 74 minutes, Willoughby drove a firm effort into the keeper's midriff, and one minute later Tuanzebe released him again, drawing an excellent save. However, the best was saved till the end as the respective men of the match locked horns and Thompson pulled off an astounding save from a brilliant strike from Bakkor.
The game stayed tense till the end, but Clitheroe held on for the three points and their seventh victory in eight.
Team: Thompson, Bromley, Roberts, Ellison, Benjamin, Russell, Mitchell, Carroll, Willoughby, Newby, Tuanzebe.
Subs (used): Bryant, Churchman
Subs (not used) Walker, Tserpes, Paulat-Brigg