By Chris Musson
On a blistering hot day, with players and officials littered across the accident strewn M6 at times prior to kick off, the Blues pocketed their first three points of the season, but not without a lot of huffing and puffing to extend their unbeaten league start.
On paper, this should have been an easy assignment, but with a solid looking central defence towering above the Clitheroe forwards, success would have to be earned.
Clitheroe had the best possible start when on 7 minutes, Connor Gaul was chopped down in the box and he dusted himself down to convert the penalty kick. Barely had the applause subsided, when Jacob Gregory was adjudged to have leant into a forward who had got wrong side of him and penalty number 2 was awarded and scored by Lewis Wainwright.
Kendal had barely any attacking intent and it was down to the Blues to unpick them, but in the final third of the pitch, the pressure broke down against the solid Kendal back line. On 18 minutes, Terry Cummings slipped in lone striker Owen Watkinson, who flashed his shot across goal.
Six minutes later, Jordan Darr made space on the wing and put through Cummings, whose shot was blocked. On 34 minutes, a gilt edged chance was spurned by Hyuga Tanner as Charlie Russell found him in the box, 10 yards out with no player within 5 yards of him. Having steadied himself, he contrived to put his shot wide of the post.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with Kendal barely entering the Clitheroe half, but with the visitors visibly tiring of trying to unlock the defence. Phil Brown shuffled his pack and brought on Elliot Pond to join Watkinson up front.
The difference was noticeable and on 83 minutes, Pond received the ball with his back to goal, turned and engineered his way along the 18 yard line before placing the ball just beyond the keeper’s reach. Three minutes later, Watkinson tried his luck, having cut in from the right and his fierce shot was well saved.
All in all, a flat performance from the Blues, but the three points made all the effort worthwhile as Brown's boys gear up for a Bank Holiday Monday derby date with Colne at Shawbridge.
Team : Connor King, Jacob Gregory, Cole Lonsdale (Danny Gray), Craig Stanley, Oliver Muir, Charlie Russell (c), Terry Cummins, Jordan Darr (Markell Foulds), Owen Watkinson, Hyuga Tanner, Conor Gaul (Elliot Pond). Subs - Danny Gray, Elliot Pond, Markell Foulds. Not used - Charlie Mulgrew, Jack Price.