The Blues head for the Macron again!
By Chris Musson
Charnock Richards 0-0 Clitheroe (after 90mins)
Clitheroe won 5-4 on Penalties.
It took penalties for Clitheroe to overcome the stubborn resistance offered by NWC side Charnock Richard, but that will not bother Blues’ fans overly as they look forward to their third appearance in the LFA Trophy final in seven years.
The first half of the game was entirely Clitheroe as their lower league opponents seemed unable to retain possession of the ball as Clitheroe turned up the pressure with their neat, passing game. On seven minutes, Dimitri Tuanzebe got behind the defence after a long throw, and his chance was followed in quick succession by Brad Carroll and Kurt Willoughby, suggesting a breakthrough was imminent. Danny Brady headed over from a George Hughes’ corner on 12 minutes, whilst Hughes sprang the defence on 17 minutes and chose to shoot wide when he had a team mate over in a better position. However, resolute defending, bordering on times at straying beyond the rules, meant the Charnock goal remained intact. On 35 minutes Tuanzebe flicked a corner goalwards and the Charnock defender deflected the ball beyond the post, with little idea of where or how. Inevitably, the best chance of the half fell to the NWC side, as a centre back hared 70 yards down the pitch and should have done better than his weak left foot drive, which curled safely away from goal.
The second half was more even, with Charnock showing more attacking intent. A run and cross to no-one on 51 minutes by Charnock set the alarm bells ringing, although three minutes later Ross Dent only just failed to get real power on to his header from a deep Caldon Henson cross. Danger man Grimshaw, Charnock’s barrel chested centre forward then had his side’s two real chances. On 62 minutes he received a ball from the left and forced a great save from Chris Thompson with a snap shot. Four minutes later he watched the ball cross over his shoulder before he placed his firm shot wide. George West shook up proceedings for the Blues when he came on as substitute, but half chances and desperate defending could not lead to a Blue breakthrough.
Straight to penalties it went and with Clitheroe registering a perfect five conversions and Thompson saving the second Charnock spot kick, it was Clitheroe who earned the right face Chorley or Lancaster in the Trophy final.
Team : Chris Thompson, Caldon Henson (Jacob Gregory), Stephen Rigby, Ian Rowlands, Danny Brady (c), George Hughes, Ross Dent (Joe Mitchell), Brad Carroll, Kurt Willoughby, Jack Egan (George West), Dimitri Tuanzebe. Subs - Joe Mitchell, George West, Jacob Gregory. Not used - Robbie Bromley, Danny Byrnes.