By Peter Ryan
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe 2-3 Market Drayton Town 01-12-18
Market Drayton performed the prefect smash and grab raid at a rain-soaked Shawbridge as they scored three goals from their three chances, whilst Clitheroe made a hatful of chances and only converted two.
Clitheroe had the perfect start on three minutes as Macauley Harewood lofted the ball over the defence and Jacob Gregory composed himself before finishing well. Barely had the celebrations finished than a Market Drayton cross from the left was headed back into the mix and driven home. The game was effectively being played in the visitors’ half and a great inswinging corner from Jack Fleming was begging to be deflected into the goal. One minute later, Harewood had another burst and his low cross was just put wide of the post. It was wholly against the run of play when on 22 minutes the visitors had a Route 1 ball down the pitch headed over the Clitheroe defence and a smart volley into the goal silenced the home crowd.
Still the chances came Clitheroe’s way. James Sloane had a header straight afterwards go wide and five minutes later he had a snap shot well saved. On 38 minutes, the lively Sloane had a firmly driven cross unbelievably not deflected into the goal. The best chance of all was saved until the 43rd minute, when a deep free kick from Lewis Sugden missed out the defence and Josh Snowdon found himself perfectly placed, but put his half volley agonisingly over the bar.
The story was repeated in the second half, albeit the Blues took time to really get in their stride. Substitute Harry Blackburn had a good volley saved after a lofted pass over the defence on 56 minutes, and after mayhem in the Market Drayton defence on 65 minutes, Blackburn found himself free and his smart shot was well saved. On 77 minutes, parity was restored after a Lewis Sugden free kick was handled in the box and it was Sugden who converted the penalty.
The crowd were now warming to their task and on 85 minutes Gregory was released after great short passing, but the keeper made a finger tip save at full stretch as the ball headed in. However, as the clock ticked down, a huge goal kick by the visitors caused real problems as it wrong footed the Clitheroe defence. Harewood found himself dragging down a player on the apex of the box and there was an inevitability about the free kick as it was thumped into the corner to give Market Drayton the points.
There was no lack of effort or skill on the Blues’ part, but the defence will have to get meaner and the forwards sharper if we are to get our just rewards.
Team : Cameron Terry, Macauley Harewood, Jack Fleming, Jay Jefferies, Josh Snowden, Lewis Sugden, Harry Cannon-Noren, Hyuga Tanner (Harry Blackburn), James Sloane, Jacob Gregory (c), Antoine Recizac (Ryan Steele). Subs - Ryan Steele, Harry Blackburn. Not used - Viktor Cella, Derek Ubah, Max Hazeldine.