Agonising sucker punch
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe 2-3 Widnes 26-01-19
In a tumultuous game played in driving rain, Clitheroe pulled back a two goal deficit, rattled the bar in the 92nd minute and then succumbed to an agonising sucker punch one minute later.
Widnes dominated the first half and took the lead in the first minute with a soft penalty, as Widnes’s lively winger, Hodkinson, crumpled over Ollie Muir’s leg. Indeed, Hodkinson was a danger throughout the half, whistling a shot across the face of goal on 4 minutes and doing similar on 13 minutes. A Widnes volley was headed clear under pressure on 16 minutes, before Max Hazeldine had the Blues’ first chance on 18 minutes when with the visiting keeper wrong footed by a back header, he only just failed to round the keeper. Hazeldine has another firm shot well saved on 25 minutes, but Cameron Terry was saving bravely at feet on 33 minutes before Hodkinson whistled one over on 34 minutes. The game changed totally two minutes later as Hodkinson seemed to clip Muir as he ran diagonally for a lofted ball, leaving him free to round Terry and to sheepishly score into an empty net.
Clitheroe dominated possession in the second half, but only started to apply real quality in the final quarter of the game. That said, there was a huge penalty shout on 46 minutes when Hazeldine was flattened in the box, but no decision was forthcoming. Hazeldine scored on 72 minutes with a deflected shot, and at this point the game changed. The tempo went up a notch and it was no surprise when Hazeldine doubled his tally on 79 minutes after a lay off from Harry Pratt. The attacks were now coming in waves and with the game in injury time there came the shot against the bar and the deflected winner which was greeted by disbelieving silence at Shawbridge.
Team : Cameron Terry, Jay Jeffries, Jordyn Fitton (Harry Blackburn), Michael Wilson, Oliver Muir, Josh Gregory, Antoine Recizac (Harry Cannon-Noren), Hyuga Tanner, Harry Pratt (James Sloane), Max Hazeldine, Jacob Gregory (c). Subs - Harry Blackburn, Harry Cannon-Noren, James Sloane. Not used - Josh Snowden, Michael Roddy.