Clitheroe 2 Salford City 2
Last minute heartbreak for Blues
Two evenly matched teams slugged themselves to a standstill in driving wind and rain, and although a draw was a fair result, the Blues will be kicking themselves that they let three points slip from their grasp so late in the day.
Kicking with the wind, Clitheroe started much the brighter. Lloyd Dean and Sean Miller were working together well, with both almost springing the Salford offside trap. After seven minutes, a Simon Garner corner squirted out to Danny Wilkins, who failed to make clean contact. However, on 10 minutes, Garner laid the ball to Wedge who was overlapping at pace and he pulled the ball back for Dean to slide home. Four minutes later Dean could have doubled the advantage as he burst through the defence but flashed a left foot shot narrowly across the face of the goal.. A second goal seemed certain on 21 minutes when a sublime chip from Wilkins over a static back four put Miller one on one. He rounded the keeper, stayed on his feet despite a nibble from the stopper, but was dispossessed by a great covering tackle with the goal at his mercy. However, against the run of play it was Salford who scored next. Their man of the match Purcell beat Wedge down the flank and when the ball ricocheted back from his cross, it was drilled home with cool precision. Dean was still making chances as the half drew to a close, but it was Salford who came nearest to scoring when Reid made a great block with his legs after 41 minutes.
In the second half, the Blues were still initially dominant, although Reid did well to smother the ball on his line from a melee after a corner on 47 minutes. However, on 55 minutes, Danny Morton surged down the pitch, played Miller through and his goal bound shot was helped home by Dean. On 63 minutes, the home fans’ hearts were in their mouths, as Reid miscalculated the pace of a ball and was almost stranded in the face of an onrushing forward. On 70 minutes Davies overlapped well down the wing to create problems, and on 74 minutes Dean slipped Miller through but he just could not round the keeper. By now, it was survival of the fittest as the rain pounded down and the young Clitheroe side coped manfully with a physical onslaught from a firm but fair Salford side. On 86 minutes, Dean and Garner swapped passes before Miller had a chance go close. One minute later, Miller flung himself at a Dean cross and the keeper pulled off a wonderful save from his point blank header. And yet, with the hard work done, on 88 minutes a deep cross from the right was headed home at the far post by the Salford substitute.
Further chances came and went, but in the end a draw was a fair result from a very entertaining afternoon’s work. Man of the Match was Dean who relished his free striking role and who moves on to 12 goals for the season.
Team: Adam Reid, Keith Wedge, James Davies, Will James, Ben Cartwright, Danny Morton, Scott Byrom, Danny Wilkins, Lloyd Dean, Sean Miller, Simon Garner. Subs: Ross Dent, Danny Smith, George Conway, Charlie Collinge, Tom Berwick