New Mills 2-1 Clitheroe
Report by Chris Musson
Simon Garner shuffled his pack on his first away outing and gave a debut to young centre back Ben Cartwright after Jack Higgins’s move to Ashton United in the Premier division. New Mills themselves had been having a sticky patch, but were first to show and exploited the visiting team’s lack of playing hours together.
Four minutes were on the clock, when Simon Garner lost the ball near the edge of his box. The home striker shaped up to hit the ball, and managed a deflected shot which fortuitously freed up a fellow striker, in a suspiciously offside position, to take the lead. Things went worse after 14 minutes as long time Clitheroe nemesis, Melville Knight, ignored the shouts for a blatant hand ball as he scooped the ball past the defence and scored from close range. The Clitheroe team gathered their thoughts and shape, and managed a handful of chances over the next 20 minutes. Dean drove a left footed shot wide after 25 minutes, Will James just failed to get his shot down from a Garner corner and a Dent diving header from a deep Dykes cross just failed to hit the target. The last five minutes of the half were all New Mills and Clitheroe did well to go in just two down. After 40 minutes, James gave his winger the freedom of the park and a great double save by Dawber came to the rescue. 4 minutes later, James made amends with a fantastic sliding tackle as the New Mills striker was primed to pull the trigger, before Bellew then cleared off the line from the subsequent corner.
The second half was far better from a Clitheroe perspective. Within a minute of the restart, Danny Smith had sliced wide a flicked on drive from James. Simon Garner was increasingly involved in a personal war with the home team’s play maker Knight, and both saw yellow as the away team started to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. On 78 minutes, Dean scored the goal of the season to date as he weaved in from the left and let fly from distance with a terrific blow, to reduce the arrears. Clitheroe could have snatched an unlikely point 4 minutes later, when Collinge in the home nets spilled a Smith free kick and Garner following up shaved the outside of the post. By now, panic was setting in for the home team, but Clitheroe could just not force home the advantage.
The result was probably a fair reflection of the day’s play, although but for the slow start, it could have been a different story.
Team : Andrew Dawber, Keith Wedge (c), Warren Bellew, Will James, Ben Cartwright, Simon Garner, Ross Dent, Scott Byrom, Danny Smith, Lloyd Dean, Chris Dykes. Subs - Louis Martini, Jason Jones. Not used - Lee Barrett, Tom Ollett, Tom Fletcher.