Clitheroe 2-0 Northwich Victoria
Report by Chris Musson
Clitheroe 2 Northwich Victoria 0
Simon Garner successfully negotiated his first league outing as player manager to win this pulsating encounter against high flying Northwich. He had much to thank his on loan keeper, Andrew Dawber, for, but equally his marauding forward line engineered more than their fair share of chances.
The visitors were the first out of the blocks. Dawber was called on to fend off a thunderous shot in the first five minutes, before another smart volley whistled over the bar after 12 minutes and a home defender did a last ditch block five minutes later as the Northwich forward shaped to shoot. Indeed, one minute later, a ball over the top was hit on the volley by another forward narrowly over the bar. After 21 minutes, on loan Fleetwood striker, Aiden Wainwright, was taken off after a crunching tackle minutes before and replaced by Scott Bakkor, who shone brightly throughout the rest of the game. A further great save by Dawber then saw Clitheroe slowly take more control of the game. On 24 minutes, a Smith flick saw Dean’s snapshot skew wide. Three minutes later the home fans were howling for a penalty when Bakkor was dropped agonisingly close to the edge of the box, but only a free kick was awarded. Minutes later, another Smith burst saw a driven cross headed over. Higgins went close five minutes later when his glancing header from a free kick went narrowly wide, but the pressure finally told when Dean took the ball to the bye-line, and instead of choosing to float his cross, drove it to the feet of Smith who buried the chance.
In the second half, early chances fell the home team’s way, but still Northwich posed a threat from well driven shots from distance. On 55 minutes, a deep cross from Garner was met smartly by Griffiths at the back post, but his header went across the face of the goal. Minutes later, Clitheroe had two great attacks only for the play to switch to the other end and for Northwich to hit the post. Chances were being created at both ends, but on 80 minutes, a two man break saw Dent slip a perfect sideways ball to Dean who buried it on the run into the far corner.
When the whistle came the home fans saluted a great performance by both teams. Clitheroe were spoilt for a MoM, but for most people, Dawber shaded the voting.
Team : Andrew Dawber, Keith Wedge (c), Warren Bellew, Will James, Jack Higgins, Simon Garner, Andy Griffiths, Scott Byrom (Ross Dent), Aiden Wainwright (Scott Bakkor), Danny Smith (Lee Barrett), Lloyd Dean. Subs - Scott Bakkor, Ross Dent, Lee Barrett. Not used - Chris Dykes, Tom Fletcher.