By Peter Ryan
By Chris Musson
With Atherton top of the league and desperate to put a run of relatively poor performances behind them, it was essential that Clitheroe kept them at bay to heighten the nerves, and hence the Blues were set up with a packed midfield. The plan did not survive the first three minutes as Josh Gregory lost the ball in a dangerous position and as the ball approached the edge of the Clitheroe box, a home striker wrapped himself conveniently round Hyuga Tanner and fell easily to the floor. From the resultant penalty, Ben Purdham was given no chance. This took the pressure off the home side and they pressed strongly down the hill for the rest of the half, pinging cross field passes across the high bouncing pitch. On 19 minutes, one of these attacks saw the resultant shot sliced well wide, but the tone was set. On 26 minutes, with the ball bouncing on the edge of the box, Purdham was given no chance as a volley screamed into the net. Nine minutes later, Colls extended their lead, as Cole Lonsdale inexplicably played a free kick in his own half straight to a home player, who whistled the ball forward and from a left wing cross, the ball was scruffily bundled home. It could have been worse four minutes later but for a superb Purdham save with his feet after Jason Jeffries lost the ball easily in the middle of the park.
Colls took their foot off the gas in the second half, but still managed a great breakaway goal on 61 minutes when a great drag back and defence splitting pass saw Purdham lobbed expertly. The home side had further chances but Purdham was more than equal to them.
Team: Purdham, Wilson, Lonsdale, Low, Langford, Jeffries, Burey, Josh Gregory, Marsh, Tanner, Blackburn
Subs (used) Recizac, West, Botell
Subs (not used) Jacob Gregory, Cameron