Watch Ryan Parr's post-match interview here.
The game started slowly this evening as both sides approached the opening embers of the match rather cautiously.
Nerves amongst the Clitheroe players may have been shaky given the importance of tonight’s game and it was actually underdogs, Witton Albion who had the slightly more promising start. Ben Woodhead was forced to rush out of his box on 6 minutes to clear the loose ball after a searching pass was lofted beyond the Clitheroe defence, and five minutes later the Clitheroe stopper was kept on his toes once again, bravely diving down at the feet of Daniel Andrews to smother his effort.
However, despite the visitors appearing to have the upper hand in the opening quarter of an hour, it was The Blues who took the lead on 15 minutes. Scott Harries showed excellent persistence and craft out on the right wing to beat his man and pick out Louis Mayers in the penalty area, who teed up David Lynch to curl home left footed into the far corner of the net making it Clitheroe 1-0 Witton Albion.
Given the importance of the game for The Blues there was no shortage of commitment shown by Clitheroe, which would prove costly for Witton midfielder, Thomas Schofield. On 23 minutes, Clitheroe player/manager, Simon Garner collided with Schofield in a full-blooded 50/50 tackle forcing the Albion man to be carried off and replaced by substitute, Thomas Owens.
Three minutes later, Brandon Barski sent a delightful cross-field pass with the outside of his left boot to the right wing, where Louis Mayers centred the ball for Gonzales, but the Clitheroe talisman failed to double the hosts’ lead seeing his attempt blocked well.
The game then became scrappy for a number of minutes with neither side keeping hold of the ball for long periods and the creation of goal scoring opportunities were very few and far between.
The next notable action came just three minutes before the half time interval as Thomas Owens slipped a through ball into the path of Carl Peers, but the midfielder could only drag his shot wide of the post.
At Half Time the score was Clitheroe 1-0 Witton Albion.
The start of the second half, although not scintillating, was slightly more exciting than that of the first. Two minutes after the referee resumed play a Witton clearance deflected off one of their own players and almost looped over Dominic Garner and into the back of the net, but the Albion keeper was alert to the danger and pulled off a smart save.
Five minutes later, Darrhyl Mason had a great chance at the other end, bursting into the Clitheroe penalty area only to be denied by a vital challenge from goalkeeper, Ben Woodhead.
From this point onwards, Albion offered very little on the front foot and it was beginning to seem increasingly unlikely that The Blues would let all three points slip through their fingers. Just past the hour mark, Louis Mayers unleashed a right footed volley from 25 yards out in an attempt to provide the home side with some breathing space, but his strike was saved comfortably by Dominic Garner.
Despite looking resigned to defeat for large parts of an uneventful second half, Witton did muster one more opportunity to get an equaliser 19 minutes from time, when a Daniel Andrews free kick took a wicked deflection off the wall, but Woodhead readjusted well to make the save.
With 8 minutes remaining, the scorer of the opening goal, David Lynch, turned provider, as he raced to the by line to cross it into the danger area where substitute, Michael Hampson was waiting to cushion a header into the near corner of the net to wrap up all 3 points for The Blues.
Clitheroe launched one final attack deep into stoppage time at the end of the game to try and grab a third, but Dominic Garner made a brilliant save to keep out Scott Harries and keep the deficit at only 2 goals.
The final score at Shawbridge was Clitheroe 2-0 Witton Albion as The Blues sealed their seventh win in eight matches.
Our next game: Saturday 19 March – Away at Harrogate Railway Athletic.
Man of the Match: David Lynch
Updated 20:38 - 21 Mar 2016 by Michael Barker