Ramsbottom United 4 Clitheroe 1
Local derby defeat
Something had to give when the two form teams of the league met, and it was Clitheroe who blinked first as a very impressive Ramsbottom side swept them aside. The pace and shape which had seen the Blues put others to the sword, were now being used to devastating effect against them by a team which seems destined for the play-offs.
The omens had not been good when the Ramsbottom floodlights spluttered into life and Warren Bellew was a last minute withdrawal through injury. The home team started the brightest and Ollerenshaw was first to be called upon to make a full length save after six minutes. This heralded Clitheroe’s only bright spell in the first half when Bakkor ran on to a punt over the defence, which he pulled back for Lloyd Dean before his lay off to Sean Miller was just too deep. A minute later, it was Miller who dinked the ball over the defence but this time Bakkor was denied by a good save. In the main, Ramsbottom were in the ascendancy and on 21 minutes, despite Clitheroe appeals for a throw in, instead the home team launched themselves down the left, beat Keith Wedge for pace and pulled the ball back to be thumped home. Four minutes later, a speculative hoof down field from the half way line resulted in a looping header which beat Ollerenshaw to make it 2-0. The scoring for the first half was completed on 32 minutes when a cross was floated over from the right wing over Wedge’s head and the resultant shot was only half blocked as it looped over the entire Clitheroe defence to make it 3-0. By this point the home side was rampant and Clitheroe’s shape had all but disappeared. On 40 minutes Ramsbottom had a free header from a corner which was cleared off the line and Clitheroe were very grateful for the half time whistle.
Garner and Morton came on for the second half in place of Byrom and Dent, and order was partially restored. In the first 10 minutes, Clitheroe had a series of dangerous corners with a number of half clearances denying the away team a route back into the game. On 72 minutes, Ollerenshaw was lobbed comfortably but the ball cannoned off the bar. A minute later, in a bizarre sequence, a Garner free kick in the Ramsbottom half cannoned back off a player into the Clitheroe half, leading to a cavalry charge towards the Clitheroe goal, only for Ollerenshaw’s legs to come to the rescue. On 85 minutes, the brilliantly named Tommy Toth, a United substitute, lost the ball in his own half and Dean finished clinically. However, any gloss which that might have given was wiped away deep in injury time when Ollerenshaw lost the ball under no pressure and the home team had the simplest of chances to extend their lead.
This was a good yardstick by which to measure Clitheroe’s progress, although it is hard to imagine they were not playing one of the league’s top sides.
Team: Josh Ollerenshaw, Keith wedge, James Walker, Will James, Ben Cartwright, Scott Byrom, Ross Dent, Daniel Wilkins, Lloyd Dean, Sean Miller, Scott Bakkor Subs: Danny Smith, Danny Morton, George Conway, Andy Griffiths, Simon Garner