Clitheroe 2 - 1 AFC Fylde
Quarter-final cup win against AFC Fylde
Fylde put out a strong side of fringe players in a full blooded encounter in the Lancashire Trophy, but a Clitheroe victory never really looked in doubt until the last few seconds of the game. In Brad Carroll, Clitheroe also had the outstanding player on the pitch.
Fylde barely had a shot on goal in the first half and it was Clitheroe who took the fight to their illustrious neighbours. Charlie Russell whistled a header wide on 7 minutes before Carroll could have scored after a melee in the box, just shooting over. Clitheroe took the lead on 12 minutes when Carroll was fouled on the edge of the box and Kurt Willoughby drove his free kick beyond the wall into the corner of the net. Robbie Bromley then hobbled out of the game after twisting his ankle but Gareth Roberts came on and slotted into his accustomed position.
Fylde’s only real chance came on 27 minutes when the main striker broke clear of the defence, but he lacked composure and shot into the midriff of Clitheroe keeper Christian Paulat-Brigg. On 30 minutes, Wes Benjamin went on a trademark run and was flattened on the edge of the box by the bye line. Alex Newby dinked in the free kick but Carroll could not make his diving header tell. He clearly got a taste for it, as another diving header just went wide on 44 minutes.
The second half followed a broadly similar pattern, albeit the visitors’ fitness and athleticism started to show as the half progressed. Danny Brady was muscled off the ball early in the second half by the burly Fylde striker, but his shot was pulled across the face of goal. Minutes later, Willoughby almost made it two as he diverted a Newby cross just this side of the post. However, he made amends on 60 minutes when he picked up a loose back pass, rounded the keeper and doubled the lead.
Three minutes later, Brady conceded a penalty which was converted. The pressure from the visitors increased a notch and Roberts cleared a dangerous bouncing ball on 86 minutes, whilst in the last minute of added time, fans could barely believe their eyes as a Fylde player on the back post failed to convert from two yards.
A draw and penalties would not have reflected the balance of play and Clitheroe’s unbeaten run continues, with near neighbours Colne due to try their luck on Boxing Day.
Team: Paulat-Brigg, Benjamin, Bromley, Ellison, Brady, Russell, Mitchell, Carroll, Willoughby, Newby, Tuanzebe
Subs used: Roberts, Tserpes
Subs not used: Bolton, Thompson