LANCASHIRE FA CHALLENGE TROPHY 14-15 - QUARTER FINAL
Bamber Bridge 1-2 Clitheroe
Bamber Bridge 1 Clitheroe 2
By Chris Musson
Clitheroe put a stranglehold on this Lancashire Trophy quarter final fixture with less than five minutes on the clock after two tremendous goals and rarely looked like letting the lead slip against a full strength Bamber Bridge side. They now go into the hat with Chorley, Atherton Collieries and Holker Old Boys for the semi finals in February.
As early as the first minute, just as the fans were settling into their places, Danny Morton whipped in a cross from the right, Sefton Gonzales controlled the ball in the area, jinked it to his left foot and leathered it from close range into the roof of the net. Things got better after three minutes when Simon Garner found himself directing play from the middle of the pitch and after a neat interchange, wrong-footed the opposition by pinging a ball to Alex Ralph who was central but 25 yards from goal. His sumptuous strike from distance which cannoned in off the underside of the bar could not have been bettered. After the initial storm, both teams tried to settle into their rhythm and whilst it was a scrappy period of play, it was clear that Brig were looking to use their pace on the flanks and in particular their danger man Waddecar. The returning Danny Brady lived dangerously when he was dispossessed on the edge of the box after 28 minutes, but the attacker was deemed to be offside. James Walker, playing on the left flank had two promising bursts to finish off the half although Mother Nature serenaded the players off the pitch for half time with her own burst of gales, hail and torrential rain.
The second half belonged more obviously to the home side as they desperately sought to get themselves back in the game. On 54 minutes, Waddecar ran at goal, drew out Andrew Dawber and rounded him, only to see his tame shot cleared. Two minutes later Dawber made a textbook palm away after the ball sat up nicely for a home attacker. Dawber made a poor punch after 63 minutes but then atoned with an instant point blank save. On 69 minutes Brady was dispossessed and despite having a three to one player advantage, Brig put the ball over the bar. Clitheroe were not always on the back foot and with Gonzales ploughing a furrow up top the Blues were always in with a chance for a third. It should have come on 74 minutes when Gonzales chased a lost ball, dragged in back to Ralph who contrived to miss from eight yards. Brig upped the tempo again and on 85 minutes, a free kick from the right was headed home. One minute later, Dawber made a phenomenal point blank save from virtually on his own line, but that was the last action of the game.
A tremendous performance from Clitheroe, where there was an abundance of skill, endeavour and graft on show for those who braved the wintry conditions.
Team: Dawber, Morton, Walker, Bonaminio, Brady, Garner, Burns, Lynch, Gonzales, Ralph, Bamba Subs Mercer (Carl), Cattermole, Jackson, Cumpsty, Palffy.