Radcliffe Borough 1 - 2 Clitheroe
The Blues fire a second-half comeback to win 2-1 at the NeuVue Stadium
The Blues fire a second-half comeback to win 2-1 at the NeuVue Stadium to take them to 8th in the Evo Stik Northern Division One and just two points off the playoffs.
Both sides got off to flying starts with Radcliffe charging forward from the off looking desperate for a result to take them clear of the drop zone.
Clitheroe suffered the loss of respected coach Ben Kay this week as he left the club but still looked fired up for the occasion with chance after chance.
First it was Ross Dent who found himself in the right position at the end of a corner and headed just over the bar; this was swiftly followed by another corner that fell to Ian Rowlands who had his shot lashed off the line.
This was followed by a long-range effort from Alex Newby who tried his luck from distance but could not outsmart Radcliffe goalkeeper Kyle Haslam who sent it behind for a corner.
Kurt Willoughby must have thought he had continued his fine scoring form and put Clitheroe in front on the nineteenth minute but was denied by a fine save from Haslam.
The Blues certainly were not having it their own way however and had a job to do with winger James Hooper who was causing all sorts of problems down flanks; first with a deflected shot that forced quick reflexes from Chris Thompson to deny; this was followed by a fast-paced dipping ball in to the box by Hooper that almost caught Thompson out on his line, but the Blues stopper just got up to tip it over the bar.
It was a fiery affair between the sides and several free kicks from Radcliffe playing slightly downhill were causing a lot of problems, but skipper Daniel Brady was there to keep heading away.
Clitheroe were certainly making life more difficult than it should have been, gifting the hosts with several opportunities that were luckily not salvaged.
Radcliffe were rewarded with the efforts however when full-back Isaac Ward got on to the end of a superb cross in by Hooper and headed in to the far corner. Half-time: Radcliffe 1-0 Clitheroe.
It was touch and go as the second half began as it became quite scrappy at times and few chances.
As the half progressed however, Clitheroe looked to gain their earlier momentum back and after several balls into the box, Alex Newby latched on to a squared ball across the six-yard box and slotted easily past Haslam to level the scores.
The equaliser seemed to inject life into both sides and we really had a game on our hands.
The substitution of Nyle Ellis for Radcliffe brought a bit more pace to their side and he made immediate impact when he went clean through on goal, but his drilled shot was no trouble for Thompson.
It was the double substitution for Clitheroe however that really changed things with Ryan Ellison and Danny Byrnes entering the field and the Blues really started going for the winner.
Willoughby for the second time in the match thought he had scored when he leaped onto an Alex Newby cross and headed inches wide of winning the game on the 82nd minute.
Onto the 85th minute and the hard work paid off; the Clitheroe fans must have though centre-back Ryan Ellison had found his inner Ronaldinho when he danced through the Radcliffe defence and struck the ball past Haslam to pick up a vital three points.
Simon Haworth’s Thoughts:
“I thought first-half we made them look better than we should have, and we didn’t get going really”.
“Sometimes that can happen on a good run and I felt at times we were a bit too nice…and not moving the ball quick enough and they got a deserved goal”.
“I told them at half-time they needed to turn it around and they did, and we were deserved winners in the end”.
“Brady was injured…but we’re lucky that we have three really good centre-halves, there’s not much between any of them, and Ryan (Ellison) definitely fancies himself as a striker which he’s going to drive me mad with for weeks!”
“Around this time last year we went on a sixteen game unbeaten run, I think we’re now four or five…if we can put little runs together I think we’ve got a squad that can compete most weeks and win games and the confidence is growing”
“We’ll just keep going and if we’re within six or seven points of the playoffs turn of the year then it gives us something to aim at”
Team : Chris Thompson, Jacob Gregory, Stephen Rigby, Danny Brady (c) (Ryan Ellison), Ian Rowlands, Charlie Russell (Brad Carroll), Joe Mitchell, Ross Dent, Kurt Willoughby, Alex Newby, George West (Danny Byrnes). Subs - Brad Carroll, Ryan Ellison, Danny Byrnes. Not used - Robbie Bromley.