Colne 2-1 Clitheroe
Dignity in defeat by Chris Musson
Clitheroe's play off push was almost fatally flawed as Colne pulled out an extra time screamer to nick the points in a game they had added little to. The large travelling support responded to the quality of the Blues' performance and stoically accepted defeat, qualities at a premium elsewhere.
Clitheroe lost the toss and kicked down the vertiginous slope in the first half. Kurt Willoughby was agonisingly close to taking the lead on two minutes when he drifted across the defence and slammed a drive against the post. One minute later, Dimitri Tuanzebe headed a Robbie Bromley corner narrowly over the bar. However, it was the home team who took the lead as the excellent Lee Pugh worked a pass down the left, and as Clitheroe appealed in vain for offside, ex Blue Chris Lynch bundled the ball home.
Jason Hart was a menace up front for Colne, but at the other end, Bromley's dead balls were causing mayhem in the home defence, with Brad Carroll just failing to connect cleanly following one on 15 minutes. On 25 minutes, Charlie Russell had a solid drive well saved, whilst three minutes later, after good work by Willoughby on the left, Carroll just failed to get his shot off. On 32 minutes, Tuanzebe pulled Clitheroe level, as his glancing header from another Bromley free kick easily eluded the keeper. Clitheroe were in the box seat for the rest of the half, but the score stayed level.
The second half was a more even affair, with many of Colne's hoofs downfield bouncing harmlessly out of touch. Chris Thompson saw yellow as he hared out of his area to clear a bouncing ball, but with covering defenders, this was the right call. 17 year old Adam Bolton came on with 10 minutes to go, to join Aidan Kirby up front, and he engineered a great chance on 87 minutes as he accelerated past the static right back but was caught between shooting and crossing and in the end over hit a cross.
As Simon Haworth threw caution to the wind and sent Danny Brady up front, the Clitheroe defence failed to deal with a trademark huge throw from Pugh, and Morrison slammed a left foot drive into the net. Cue understandably joyous scenes, with the home manager unable to resist joining in the ruck of players.
There was no way back for the Blues, and with snookers required on Saturday, the play offs appear to have passed. This is a squad on the up though, and every player and occupant of the bench can hold their heads high.
Team : Chris Thompson, Robbie Bromley, Gareth Roberts, Jacob Davies, Danny Brady (c), Charlie Russell (Ian Rowlands), Chris Churchman, Brad Carroll, Kurt Willoughby (Aidan Kirby), Alex Newby, Dimitri Tuanzebe (Adam Bolton). Subs - Aidan Kirby, Adam Bolton, Ian Rowlands. Not used - Ryan Cattermole, Joe Mitchell.