Clitheroe 2 Wigan Robin Park 2 (Clitheroe lose 4-2 on penalties)
Report by Chris Musson.
Simon Garner had his first opportunity to run the rule over his new team in this Lancashire Trophy fixture, and named an unchanged team from the one which won on Saturday against Kendal, with only Scott Bakkor unavailable.
Wigan belied their status as the basement team in the NWC Premier league and throughout the game showed a willingness to burst forward in numbers and created a number of clear cut chances. As early as the second minute, Richie Mottram was forced to make a good save with his legs, whilst Danny Smith was first out of the traps for the Blues and roared a volley closely over after 5 minutes. Chances came at both ends. On 15 minutes, Richie Mottram made a great double save whilst five minutes later, Ross Dent whistled a 20 yard drive over the bar. Play was even for the rest of the half.
Clitheroe had the better of the early play in the second half. Danny Smith had his shot saved after 50 minutes, whilst substitute Jamie Campbell produced a great chip from the edge of the box, despite being held by a defender. Wigan took the lead on 55 minutes, when they scored with a glancing header from a floated free kick. Clitheroe turned up the pressure, but every time they attacked, Wigan did the same, with their burly front line creating real problems as they muscled their way through the defence. On 62 minutes, Danny Smith lost the ball around the centre spot and three passes later the ball was nestling in the home goal. Finally, Clitheroe started to dominate, with chances falling to Jack Higgins, a foiled attempt with the ball almost on the goal line and Lloyd Dean hitting the post. On 85 minutes, a Warren Bellew cross from the left was headed in by Lloyd Dean. Two minutes later, Danny Smith hit an underpowered shot over the line. Still, Wigan didn’t give up and Richie Mottram saved twice in the dying minutes.
The game went straight to penalties, and with Simon Nangle missing the first spot kick of the sequence, Wigan won 4-2, without missing a penalty.
Rithie Mottram, Keith Wedge, Warren Bellew, Rob Bodie, jack Higgins, Adam Birchall, Simon Nangle, Ross Dent, Danny Smith, Lloyd Dean, Chris Dykes Subs Paul Carney, Lee Barrett, Jamie Campbell, Tom Ollett, Tom Fletcher