Trafford 0-2 Clitheroe 31-08-19
Clitheroe tweaked the team from within their squad and came back from Trafford with a much deserved three points, courtesy of a very solid performance.
Trafford were a much changed and more youthful outfit from previous seasons and were very slow in moving the ball up from the back, leaving them vulnerable to play being broken up and counter attacks launched, most notably by the tenacious Charlie Russell. Indeed, it was Russell who had the first real chance on 11 minutes, when as part of a three pronged attack, he chose to run with the ball and stung the keeper’s hands with his firm shot. Trafford had a small purple patch midway through the first half, blazing over on 18 minutes, getting the wrong side of Ollie Muir from a high bouncing ball three minutes later before finally hitting the bar on 24 minutes. This spurred on the visitors and one minute later, Terry Cummings received a through ball from Owen Watkinson, and the keeper could only parry his fierce shot with Watkinson inexplicably ballooning the free ball over from 5 yards. A couple more good home attacks followed, but it was Clitheroe who took the lead as the clock ticked down, when a Jacob Gregory cross drilled in from the right, saw Watkinson upended in the box. Connor Gaul converted with his usual aplomb.
The second half was almost all Clitheroe. With only a minute gone, Watkinson received the ball, advanced and crashed a shot against the bar from 20 yards, with more than a suspicion that the ball had crossed the line as it ricocheted down. Cummings and Watkinson continued to pull the Trafford defence apart, but it was Gregory who went closest on 55 minutes when a sublime chip from Cummings saw him run free and his driven cross cum shot was begging to be converted. On 63 minutes, Watkinson had the keeper sprawling full length to turn away his 20 yard shot, but five minutes later, a mishit cross from Trafford floated against the apex of the Clitheroe bar and post. Clitheroe were still comfortably in control, but the score was given the gloss it deserved when substitute Jordan Darr received a great ball through from Watkinson, and as he held off a defender as he tacked across the 18 yard box, he then unleashed a powerful shot which the keeper could only get a partial hand to.
Team : Cameron Terry, Danny Gray, Paul Dugdale (c), Craig Stanley, Oliver Muir, Charlie Russell, Jacob Gregory, Terry Cummins (Jake Connelly), Owen Watkinson, Hyuga Tanner (Charlie Mulgrew), Conor Gaul (Jordan Darr). Subs - Charlie Mulgrew, Jordan Darr, Jake Connelly. Not used - Markell Foulds, Jack Price.
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