Wakefield 0-3 Clitheroe
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe put in a thoroughly professional performance to come away with three points from Wakefield’s cavernous rugby league ground.
Honours were even at the start of the first half as both sides probed the others’ defence. However, on 19 minutes, Danny Mahoney unlocked the Wakefield defence down the right flank and Dean Canning advanced on goal and settled himself before placing the ball out of the reach of the keeper. Thereafter, chances remained limited although on 30 minutes, a Wakefield forward shimmied past a Clitheroe defender before sending a wickedly dipping shot narrowly over the bar. At the other end, Chris Dykes received the ball on the left wing after 40 minutes, swayed inside his defender and curled the ball with his right foot tantalisingly past the far post. Two minutes later, Clitheroe took control of the game when another defence splitting pass from Mahoney released Chris Mason, who having chested the ball in front of him on the run, advanced on goal and was adjudged to have been brought down by the keeper. Lee Pugh comfortably dispatched the resultant spot kick.
Wakefield started more brightly out of the blocks at the start of the second half, and whilst a number of sliding tackles were required by the Clitheroe defence, notably Jack Higgins and Will James, the home team never had the cutting edge to threaten Clitheroe’s goal. On 46 minutes, Wakefield drove a shot across goal but had no one to get on the end of it. Temperatures raised considerably after 54 minutes, when Blues’ keeper Hakan Burton spilled a cross and bravely dropped on to the loose ball whilst boots were flying. The melee which threatened was quickly snuffed out by the referee. On 65 minutes Clitheroe conceded a free kick on the D of the penalty area, although the well struck dead ball was curled round the post. The best was saved till last when on 80 minutes, a hanging cross by Simon Nangle was casually palmed away by the Wakefield keeper to the corner of the penalty area, where substitute Isaac Kusaloka acrobatically hooked the ball unsighted towards the goal, and the despairing keeper scramble of the keeper could not keep the ball from crossing the line.
The final scoreline of 3-0 was a fair reflection of play and the win extended Clitheroe’s unbeaten run to five games and was their third clean sheet on the spin.
Team: Burton, Smalley, Pugh, James, Higgins, Birchall, Nangle, Mahoney, Mason, Canning, Dykes
Subs Woods, Devenney, Kusaloka