Clitheroe 0 Kidsgrove Athletic 4
Clitheroe slumped to a heavy opening day defeat courtesy of a hat-trick from rampaging striker, Anthony Malbon, who had also put the Blues out of the FA Cup last season.
If Lady Luck had played her part, the outcome might have been different, with Ollie Wood breaking free and putting his shot just wide of the post within the first minute. David Thompson also had a scudding cross from the left which went agonisingly wide of any home player on 8 minutes. Kidsgrove were equally making chances, but Clitheroe came closest on 14 minutes when a Damian Green free kick was tipped acrobatically over the bar.
On 15 minutes, Malbon had his first show of intent as he burst through the defence and skewed the ball across the face of goal. At the other end Wood had a snap shot tipped round the post. Then the tide turned. On 20 minutes, a Clitheroe defender cleared the ball off the line. Two minutes later, from an overlap down the Kidsgrove right, Malbon steered home the cross. Three minutes later he made it two, this time with a cross from the left. Things got worse on 32 minutes, when Andy Watson was left flat footed and after two smart passes, the ball was punched home.
The second half was more even, with Obi Anoruo being brought on as a second striker. Max Hazeldine had the ball in the net from a smart shot on 80 minutes, but the referee has blown a fraction before for an infringement in Clitheroe’s favour. To add insult to injury, a period of Clitheroe pressure saw Wood try to lay the ball back for another attack, but his heavy pass simply split the home defence to allow Malbon to do what he does best.
The managers will be hoping to see a change in performance and result at Radcliffe, as the games come thick and fast.
Team : Jack Sims, Jacob Gregory, David Thompson (c), Josh Gregory, Josh Snowden, Andrew Watson, Max Hazeldine, Damian Green, Ollie Wood, Declan Daniels (Obi Anoruo), Jonah Gosling (Antoine Recizac). Subs - Obi Anoruo, Antoine Recizac. Not used - Ben Matthews, Harry Cannon-Noren, Lewis Sugden.