Clitheroe 1-2 Wakefield
Report by Chris Musson
Clitheroe 1 Wakefield 2
A poor decision to send off Si Nangle early in the second half unbalanced the shape of the game but ultimately could not paper over the cracks of this defeat against a limited Wakefield team.
In a game lacking in real quality, it was Clitheroe who had some of the earlier chances. On 5 minutes, an inviting ball from Griffiths into the box saw Dykes miscue and send the ball wide. Action then turned to the other end and on 17 minutes Wakefield saw a long distance effort narrowly thunder over the bar. Clitheroe were finding some success down the flanks and on 23 minutes, a hanging cross from Carr saw Griffiths head the ball wide. A minute later, a meandering run from Carney resulted in a through ball to Wedge, who hammered the ball over. On 27 minutes, Clitheroe had the breakthrough and if was Jack Higgins who headed home a free kick from Carr before diving into the Clitheroe fans. The lead lasted all of two minutes. A thunderous pile driver from Wakefield, expertly tipped over by Mottram, should have set alarm bells ringing. The resulting corner was scuffed to the near post, Mottram scrambled to get to the ball but was stranded as the ball squirted to a Wakefield player who slammed it home from two yards. Clitheroe should have taken the lead instantly when a cross from the Clitheroe right was helped on by Griffiths, who fed Carney who in turn put the ball wide when only three yards from goal. The linesman’s flag could not hide his misery.
The first half petered out and Paul Moore set out his positive intent by taking off centre forward Griffiths and right back Wedge, playing three at the back and replacing them with Bakkor and Nangle to sharpen the Clitheroe goal threat. The yo-yo football continued though. On 48 minutes good interplay saw Dykes freed on the right, and his pull back from the bye line was scuffed by Carney. In the blink of an eye, the ball was at the other end of the pitch and Clitheroe were back-pedalling and lucky to escape. The game’s key moment happened on 55 minutes, when Si Nangle was shown a straight red for a full blooded tackle by both players. He was incredulous and the fans were incensed. Interestingly, the Clitheroe attacking threat then went up a notch. Half chances were being created by the home side, with Dykes usually in the thick of the action and Bakkor working intelligently. The introduction of new boy Aaron Fleming from Fylde added another attacking dimension, and for the next 10 minutes it was all Clitheroe. However, on 85 minutes, the inevitable sucker punch happened, and having sprung the offside trap, the Wakefield striker drew Mottram out before rounding him, and not even a despairing dive from Higgins could save the day. Further chances fell Clitheroe’s way, but the gods were not smiling.
There is no doubt Paul Moore is without key players and is being forced to play people out of position, but he desperately needs to find a settled side and one which can consistently pose a goal threat to the opposition.
Mottram, Bodie, Wedge, Carr, Higgins, Birchall, Mihell, Dykes, Hewitt, Griffiths, Carney Subs: Nangle, Bakkor, Campbell, Mason, Fleming.