Early Fireworks at Shawbridge
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe 5-1 Droylsden 23-10-18
There was no shortage of action in this game between two teams where goals are usually guaranteed when they meet, and but for a man of the match performance by returning legend Chris Thompson, the scoreline could have been in double figures.
Droylsden kicked with the wind in the first half and for the first ten minutes, the home side were at sixes and sevens. Despite Max Hazeldine having the first shot of the night in the first minute, the play then swung to the other end and Derek Ubah was found isolated, lost the ball and Cameron Terry was forced to make a succession of recovering saves, Things got worse when Lewis Sugden dropped a player in the box and visiting skipper Mike Brewster converted.
Minutes later, Ubah made a hasty challenge on the edge of the box, and even though the free kick was harmless, the wind was literally in the visitors’ sails. Slowly, however, the Blues came back. On 11 minutes, Ubah lofted a ball over the Droylsden defence, and Jamie Rainford’s firm shot was well saved. Five minutes later, Jacob Gregory jinked down the left and pulled the ball back to Hazeldine who scuffed his shot with the goal at his mercy.
The complexion of the game changed when visiting skipper Brewster was shown a straight red for a poor tackle on Hyuga Tanner, who limped off shortly afterwards. The home pressure built from this point, with Thompson twice saving from Rainford, but the forward was not to be denied on the stroke of half time, when after a great Hazeldine surge down the line, he buried his shot.
The second half was almost exhibition football as Clitheroe kept the ball, made their opponents run and then picked them off at will. On 51 minutes, Thompson was haring out of his box to save at Rainford’s feet, but the returning keeper could do nothing on 53 minutes when a half-clearance from an Antoine Recizac burst, was pinged effortlessly into the top corner from 30 yards by Lewis Sugden. It was so swift, not a soul moved.
Droylsden had their one chance on 60 minutes when Stephen Rigby slid to deflect away a shot from a free kick after the home defence was caught napping. The Blue tide was not be denied, though, with Sudgen getting his second after a throw in reached him 20 yards out and he buried his shot from distance.
Thompson made successive saves from Gregory and substitute Macaulay Harewood, and when Gregory was upended on 78 minutes, he only just failed to stop Rainford’s spot kick. Recizac put the icing on the cake after a typical mazy run on 88 minutes and piled into the fans behind the goal.
There were smiles aplenty at the end of the game, and it was a relief to record the first home league win of the season. The performance suggested there would be plenty more.
Team; Cameron, Jeffries, Rigby, Snowdon, Ubah, Sugden, Jacob Gregory, Tanner, Rainford, Recizac, Hazeldine
Subs (used) Josh Gregory, Harewood, Boyd
Subs (not used) Cannon-Noren, Sloane