Farsley 3-0 Clitheroe
Blues lose unbeaten league record by Chris Musson
Clitheroe tamely succumbed to their first league defeat of the season against third-placed Farsley, whose physical, route one football and mastery of a bobbly pitch proved too much for an unusually lacklustre Blues side.
Paul Moore named an unchanged starting 11 to the side which had so impressively beaten Trafford in midweek and it looked like business as usual when Mark Buchan sent Alex Johnson through on goal with barely 20 seconds on the clock, but a cruel bobble saw him slice the ball into the side-netting when a goal looked likely.
Thereafter, the game developed into a war of attrition, with Farsley favouring the long ball into the Clitheroe box and trying to maximise the benefit from any corners they won. The only real point of note in the first 30 minutes was Lee Pugh being booked for jumping for a ball with his arms outstretched and catching his opponent, but this set the tone for a very fussy if not downright poor display of refereeing throughout. Slowly the game began to take more shape and on 32 minutes Farsley had a snap shot on goal which was screwed just wide. Ross Dent was upended on the D of the Farsley box two minutes later, but Simon Nangle equally pulled his shot wide. The home side took the lead on 39 minutes when one of a succession of vicious near post corners finally found a glancing header from Joshua Radcliffe. Two minutes later Alex Johnson was upended in the Farsley box, but the referee waved play on.
The second-half saw Jordan Williams come on for Leon Williams, but the game was ruined as a contest three minutes later when a home striker folded himself conveniently round a Clitheroe leg in the Blues box after a perfectly clean challenge, and the referee this time awarded the penalty. There was a stunned silence around the ground, not least when the penalty was converted by Adam Priestley. This jolted Clitheroe into some kind of life and Daley Woods had a fierce snap shot saved a minute later. A number of chances fell in quick succession to Clitheroe, but there was always a lack of quality to the final pass. On 49 minutes, Farsley sealed the points when a quick break from another of these failed attacks saw Gareth Grant hold off substitute Connor Smith as he ran unimpeded to the edge of the box and unleashed a 15 yard left foot drive, which beat Richard Mottram at the near post. A number of further chances fell Clitheroe’s way, with a great Lee Pugh free-kick, a drive over from Connor Smith and a Ross Dent header standing out. However, it was Farsley who almost increased their lead in the 90th minute when a speculative drive across the Clitheroe box could not be touched in.
Overall a game to forget for the neutral and one from which Clitheroe will need to bounce back on Tuesday against Bamber Bridge after this collective day off.
TEAM – Richie Mottram, Chris Smalley, Lee Pugh, Rob Bodie, Will James, Ross Dent, Simon Nangle, Daley Woods, Mark Buchan, Alex Johnson , Leon Williams.
Subs – Jordan Williams for Leon Williams, Connor Smith for Daley Woods, Marcus Calvert for Mark Buchan.