AFC Blackpool 2 - 4 Clitheroe
The Blues were winning in the rain
By Chris Musson
Who needs a metaphorical monsoon when you can have the real thing?
It was credit to both teams that they served up a tremendous spectacle despite the curtains of rain and inevitably greasy surface, but Clitheroe were worthy winners in the end after a number of early scares.
With Simon ringing a number of changes and resting a couple of regulars, this was still a powerful Clitheroe side. AFC Blackpool, two divisions lower but hungry for the scalp, were determined to give the game all they had and in the first half matched the Blues. Macauley Harewood showed first on five minutes, after a good interchange with Brad Carroll and his cross on five minutes caused all sorts of panic in the home defence.
Tackles were generally flying in and Harewood would soon limp off after another rash challenge 20 minutes later. On 15 minutes the home team had a free kick in a central position, and having struck the ball cleanly, it took a smart save from debutant keeper Christian Paulat-Brigg to turn it round the post.
Indeed it was the home team who took the lead on 23 minutes, when a cushioned back header from a Clitheroe defender simply let two attackers free, resulting in a smart finish. The lead only lasted five minutes before Charlie Russell controlled the ball on the edge of the box and Brad Carroll picked his spot to drill the ball home.
Visiting hearts were in their mouths as play swung to the other end and Ian Rowlands ushered the lively Blackpool Number 9 to the edge of the box. Did he slip or did Rowlands get a nick – either way a free kick was awarded just on the edge of the box, when a penalty looked most likely. Finally, as the half time clock ticked down, great interplay between Carroll and Alex Newby saw Kurt Willoughby thump the ball home against his former club.
The second half was more of a procession. The Blues passing was crisper all over the pitch and whilst AFC Blackpool had the odd chance, it was by and large one way traffic. On 55 minutes, Mitch Bryant drove down the right and laid the ball off to Newby who finished coolly.
On 68 minutes, Joe Mitchell threaded a wonderful 40 yard ball through to Willoughby who drove the ball home at pace. 16 year old Clitheroe lad Adam Bolton was introduced and he showed plenty of touches to suggest he is one for the future, including an attempted chip with the outside of his foot which just went wide. Blackpool pulled one back with a great strike, but it was Clitheroe who progressed.
Subs (used) Alex Newby, Dimitri Tuanzebe, Adam Bolton
Sub (unused) - Chris Thompson