Trafford 2 - 2 Clitheroe
Chalk and cheese
In a fascinating encounter, Clitheroe's young guns showed themselves more than equal to a team full of hardened semi pros, whose careers had taken them all to higher levels, but whose physicality and footballing nous were now their key attributes. Not that it was an overly dirty game, certainly not worth the seven yellows for Trafford, but any step backwards from the battle would have been punished by this Trafford side. None were on display.
The first half comfortably belonged to the Blues and within 23 minutes they had raced into a two goal lead. On 16 minutes, Dimitri Tuanzebe kept his feet on the right wing after being fouled, but with the referee playing the advantage he slipped the ball to Alex Newby, whose scudding cross was steered home by Brad Carroll at full stretch. Minutes later, the impressive Newby went on a mazy run and his shot was deflected harmlessly into the keeper's arms.
The lead was doubled on 23 minutes when from a free kick on the left, Danny Brady headed the deep cross back towards the keeper, who fluffed the header and Tuanzebe nipped in to make it 2-0. That was Brady's last action of the game as he was shortly carried off with a badly gashed shin, with Wes Benjamin filling in. Trafford's only two chances of the half came on 37 minutes when Chris Thompson pulled off a superb save as the ball sped through a forest of legs.
However, from the resultant corner, Trafford's skipper powered a near post header unchallenged into the goal. Things got worse for the Blues as Gareth Roberts limped off holding his back and Ryan Cattermole replaced him. The first half had not quite finished and Tuanzebe had one more chance as he hared in on goal, but the attack petered out.
The home team came out a changed side in the second half, and for much of the half the Blues were defending, with all Trafford's attacking guile on display. Burns was guilty of several misses but on 75 minutes, a great defence splitting pass down the Trafford right, saw a cross flash across the Clitheroe goal, with the forward controlling and finishing coolly. Two minutes later, Thompson averted the sucker punch by making another finger tip save, and he was called upon in the dying minutes to tip another screamer over the bar.
In the end, both teams' unbeaten records remained intact and a draw was probably a fair result.
Team: Thompson, Bromley, Roberts, Ellison, Brady, Russell, Mitchell, Carroll, Willoughby, Newby, Tuanzebe.
Subs (used) Benjamin, Cattermole, West
Subs (not used) Churchman, Tserpes