Clitheroe 2-1 Cammell Laird
By Chris Musson
A Jekyll and Hyde performance from Clitheroe still had enough in it to take the three points, mainly thanks to their rock solid defence.
The only change to the previous week’s line up saw Daley Woods start the game on the left in place of Chris Dykes and his presence helped the Blues to dominate large stretches of the first half. One touch football and defence splitting passes were the order of the day, with Dean Canning, Danny Mahoney, Chris Mason and Woods making acres of space for themselves. Two early crosses from Woods had the visitors back pedalling early doors, with a Mahoney volley skimming just wide and a snap shot from Canning fizzing past the post.
Shortly afterwards, Simon Nangle was felled in the middle of the opposition area, but not before he released Mason, and with the referee playing the advantage he repeated his slick finishing of the previous week, with Clitheroe deservedly taking the lead. Further Clitheroe possession built the pressure on the visitors and a tremendous move saw Chris Smalley release Canning down the right whose first touch was to flick the ball back to Smalley, wrong footing the defence, and the subsequent cross to Woods in the box saw the striker steady himself and then thread the ball home for a goal.
At this point the Blues were rampant and Burton had still barely touched the ball. On 38 minutes it was almost number 3, when a neat interchange between Woods and Mahoney saw Canning sent through, only for his shot to be blocked. With half time looming, the home fans were sitting back for more, when inexplicably from a cross, Jack Higgins was adjudged to have jumped with his hand in the air and a penalty was given. Burton’s first action of the day was to pick the fiercely driven penalty from the back of the net.
The second half could not have been in greater contrast. An early burst through by Woods from a Lee Pugh through ball was all the home team had to show for the next 45 minutes. The defence went deeper and deeper, the midfield started to look a bit leggy and the fluency and the shape which the home team had displayed only minutes earlier evaporated. Fortunately, the defence was in top form and limited Lairds to barely a shot on goal. On 89 minutes, the visitors had their only real attack of the game but it was fortunate that it was driven into the side netting. When the final whistle came, the applause was generous from the home fans but reflected more the first half performance.
Clitheroe - Burton, Smalley, Pugh, James, Higgins, Birchall, Nangle, Mahoney, Canning, Mason, Woods. Subs – Dent, Dykes, Kusaloka, Bell, Mottram
Cammell Laird – Atherton, Ferrigan, Dysart, Grogan, O’Brien, Atherton, Couch, Cairns, Henders, Foley, Holt. Subs – Richardson, Healing, Robertson, Hyland, Gibiliru.