Northwich Victoria 3 Clitheroe 0
Dismal away form continues
On a trip down memory lane to Flixton’s old ground, where nothing at all had changed in the intervening dozen years, Clitheroe’s dismal away from continued as they failed to cope with a bouncy pitch and forthright opposition, in a game of very few chances.
With Keith Wedge being rested on the bench and Ross Dent unavailable, there were a number of changes to Tuesday’s side. Danny Morton and Ollie McLean started up front again and on three minutes Morton had a clear sight of goal after a great burst by Danny Wilkins, but he shot tamely at the keeper, as the ball was turned round for a corner. The bright start did not last and on seven minutes, a big Northwich kick down field was missed by Charlie Collinge and with his centre back partner, Dominic Barrett back pedalling, the Vics forward went to the bye line and pulled it back for a stabbed finish from close range. There was more defensive chaos one minute later when a Vics cross from the left bounced dangerously in the area, but no-one could apply the finishing touch. Collinge was in the thick of the action, and from heading close from a corner on ten minutes, he was outmuscled one minute later and the Northwich forward should have capitalised on the break. On 17 minutes, Tuesday’s hero, Oli McLean hobbled off with a hamstring injury, to be replaced by Paul Coote. Alex Ralph and Danny Wilkins were slowly starting to show for the Blues and on 31 minutes, a good marauding run from Ralph just ran too far ahead of him. Proctor made a smart save on 33 minutes from Northwich’s excellent centre forward Burnett and five minutes later was called upon to tip a shot round the post.
No changes were made at half time and again Clitheroe started brightly. James Walker had a couple of handy shots from range and Barrett had a 20 yard shot whistle past the post. Little else of quality happened for much of the second half and at that point the game was evenly balanced. However, on 78 minutes, Proctor ran from his area to close down the Vics right winger who was haring down the line after a speculative ball. However, he stopped in no man’s land and it was too easy for the ball to be slid past him and it to be bundled into the net. Coote had an acrobatic overhead kick balloon over before on 89 minutes, Collinge was outmuscled again and Burnett easily rounded Proctor to put a slightly false gloss on the score.
This was a pale imitation of Tuesday’s performance and Simon Garner will be hoping that the friendlier surroundings of Shawbridge will get the side back on track.
Team: Proctor, Olapade, Walker, Collinge, Barrett, Nangle, Byrom, Wilkins, Morton, McLean,. Ralph Subs: Wedge, Coote, McNamara, Bailey, Garner.