Both sides seemed to approach the opening 10 minutes of the game cautiously, looking to size up their opposition before committing many men forward. Neither side managed to hold onto possession for long spells and goal scoring opportunities were few and far between.
However, in the 12th minute the visitors, Burscough were able to muster the first half chance of the game as Matthew Devine managed to reach the by-line before chipping it into the centre where William Jones could only turn his volley wide.
Three minutes later, the Blues brandished an opportunity of their own as Scott Harries looped a ball over his own head towards the penalty spot, where David Lynch cushioned a left footed volley goalwards only to see his attempt smartly saved by Calvin Hare in the Burscough net.
Despite a lack of clear cut chances in the opening exchanges, Burscough did break the deadlock on 18 minutes to hand themselves the lead. Elliot Newby showed great skill with a step over out on the right wing, before checking inside and whipping his left footed strike into the far corner of the net to make it Clitheroe 0-1 Burscough.
Clitheroe looked deflated against a well organised Burscough side following the opening goal and their only response to going 1-0 down was a half chance for departing player-manager, Simon Garner, who blazed a shot over the bar from 20 yards out after a corner was cleared into his path.
The tempo of the game remained slow and the hosts were struggling to find a sight of goal until they were gifted a golden opportunity to put themselves back on level terms on 33 minutes. Defender, Anthony Brown’s careless back pass was easily anticipated and intercepted by Sefton Gonzales before the Clitheroe striker was brought down in the penalty area by Burscough keeper, Calvin Hare.
Louis Mayers took responsibility and placed the ball on the penalty spot before striking it to the keeper’s left only to see Calvin Hare pull off a tremendous save before diving onto the loose ball to keep the score at Clitheroe 0-1 Burscough.
At half time the Blues went in a goal down.
The second half started slightly livelier than the first and just a minute after play was resumed, Burscough had the chance to double their lead. William Jones got himself on the end of an excellent cross, but hesitated after chesting the ball down on the edge of Clitheroe’s 6 yard box and the ball trickled behind for a goal kick, leaving Jones looking somewhat embarrassed.
5 minutes later, Clitheroe captain, James Heywood drove forward but could only fire his long range shot high and wide of the Burscough goal.
At this stage, end of season lethargy was becoming more and more clear with both sides lacking considerable energy and as a result the game became rather flat with neither side possessing the upper hand.
On the hour mark though, Roberto Bonaminio came on as a substitute to replace Wesley Benjamin as the Blues stepped up their search for an equaliser. Just a minute later, playing his final game at Shawbridge as a Clitheroe player, Simon Garner whipped in a left footed free kick from 35 yards out and it took an impressive reaction save from Calvin Hare to keep out Louis Mayers’s close range header.
On 65 minutes the hosts threatened again as Sefton Gonzales showed great ball control in the penalty area to bring the ball down from out of the air, but he could only prod a weak effort towards goal which was comfortably saved by the in-form Calvin Hare.
Despite Clitheroe’s fighting spirit and desire to claw one back, 19 minutes from time Burscough substitute, Liam Caddick calmly slotted home with a first time effort from 8 yards out to seal all 3 points for the visitors after the Blues failed to clear their lines.
So, unfortunately there was no fairy tale ending to an excellent final season at the club for Simon Garner and the Blues’ last home game of the season ended in defeat.
Final Score: Clitheroe 0-2 Burscough
Updated 18:15 - 21 Apr 2016 by Peter Ryan