Mossley 1-1 Clitheroe
Report by Chris Musson
Mossley 1 Clitheroe 1
A draw was a fair result in this game between two teams looking to rebuild after departures in the close season, but Clitheroe will be kicking themselves for letting slip a lead they held for 70 minutes.
The first period of play was utterly forgettable as the two teams sized each other up, but it burst into life when a clumsy challenge on 15 minutes from makeshift left back, Will James, saw the referee point to the spot. As predicted by the home fans, the resultant penalty kick ballooned over the bar. A minute later, a through ball from Bodie to Paul Carney saw the Mossley keeper block at his feet, before the play swung to the other end as Mossley just put the ball wide from a free header. On 19 minutes, Clitheroe took the lead as Chris Dykes hit a screamer from 25 yards from a ball which had been pulled back from the left. Clitheroe were by now having the better of the play. On 23 minutes an Adam Birchall deflection skimmed the post. On 31 minutes, Paul Carney won the ball in the Mossley half and slipped Andy Griffiths in, only to see the keeper dive bravely in to deny the outstretched boot looking to poke the ball goalwards. Five minutes later, it was Mottram who was called into action as he faintly deflected a hard driven cross away from an onrushing forward, and just before the stroke of half time a couple of smart Mossley passes on the edge of a box, saw the driven shot narrowly deflected over.
The second half saw the play swing from end to end but slowly but surely, Clitheroe began to defend progressively deeper and to lose potency as an attacking threat. On 55 minutes, a speculative snap shot from the home side hit the post. On 75 minutes, Mottram made a point blank save from a thunderous shot. Ten minutes later Mossley were screaming for a penalty as an unidentified Clitheroe player made a goal line block from a prone position with his chest. Biology might not have been my strong point, but it was almost impossible for there not to have been contact with the arm. Nevertheless, the referee waved play on. Finally, the brave Clitheroe resistance was broken on 91 minutes, when another peach of a strike from distance arrowed into the corner.
This was a solid display by Clitheroe with many players playing out of position, not helped by Scott Bakkor pulling up with an injury during the warm up. New man, Ashley Mehill, was a strong physical presence in the middle of the park and would have been my man of the match for his attacking runs and general all action play, but for the quality of Mottram in the Clitheroe goal, who gets the nod.