Improved performance, same outcome.
By Chris Musson
Radcliffe FC 4-1 Clitheroe
A broadly similar Clitheroe team to Saturday took the pitch at Radcliffe, and with a solid start craved by the travelling fans, their hopes were to be quickly dashed as after two minutes, a nondescript cross was chased to the byeline, before a simple cross and unchallenged header gave the home side the lead. New Clitheroe keeper Kyle Trennery flirted with dismissal when on 10 minutes he hared out of his box and flattened the onrushing forward, but was only shown yellow.
However, Clitheroe were showing plenty of attacking intent. On 17 minutes, a floated free kick was stabbed just wide of the goal. Radcliffe were a useful outfit and they almost doubled the lead on 28 minutes when a forward steadied himself on the apex of the box and only narrowly failed to curl the ball into the far corner. In the last five minutes of the half, Clitheroe should have been level. Firstly, Max Hazeldine burst down the right, laying the ball to Obi Anoruo, who jinked and laid the ball to Ben Matthews who astonishingly leant back and blazed the ball over the bar. Secondly, Josh Gregory received the ball in the box and drove the ball skywards.
Kicking downhill in the second half, hopes were high, and on 52 minutes a cross from Hazeldine at pace was instantly volleyed by Anoruo and the keeper made a terrific save. The task got harder on 65 minutes when Andy Watson came off second best in a tackle, leaving the goal at the forward’s mercy as he lofted the ball over Trennery.
Four minutes later, Anoruo pulled one back after first seeing his shot from a Hazeldine cross saved, before hauling himself up and squeezing it home. Clitheroe pressure was building, but as the clock ticked down, Radcliffe scored a third after Jacob Gregory tried to play football on the edge of the box, before an unfair gloss was put on the scoreline after a jinking run resulted in a fine fourth goal.
Team : Jack Sims, Jacob Gregory, David Thompson (c), Josh Gregory, Josh Snowden, Andrew Watson, Max Hazeldine, Damian Green, Ollie Wood, Declan Daniels (Obi Anoruo), Jonah Gosling (Antoine Recizac). Subs - Obi Anoruo, Antoine Recizac. Not used - Ben Matthews, Harry Cannon-Noren, Lewis Sugden.
Team : Kyle Trennery, Jacob Gregory, David Thompson (c), Josh Snowden, Andrew Watson, Damian Green (Andreas Bianga), Max Hazeldine (Harry Cannon-Noren), Josh Gregory, Ollie Wood, Obi Anoruo, Ben Matthews (Antoine Recizac). Subs - Andreas Bianga, Antoine Recizac, Harry Cannon-Noren. Not used - Declan Daniels, Jack Sims.