The Blues’ unbeaten away record came to an end by the Riverside as two second-half goals gave Ramsbottom the derby honours.
The Rams had won both of their opening two home games in the BetVictor North-West Division, as well as reaching the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.
But their early-season form was given a stern test by the Blues in an impressive first-half showing before strikes from Nic Evangelinos and Anointed Chukwu killed off the challenge of Terry Brown’s men.
Brown made five changes to the starting line-up that had lost to Prescot Cables last Saturday, including a first start for lively new midfield signing Oscar O’Neil, and his re-shuffled side made an upbeat start which could have produced a lead inside the first two minutes.
Charlie Russell and Charlie Mulgrew combined to help the ball forward to Terry Cummings and the winger – who caused the home side a handful of early problems – steered his shot just wide of the far post.
The hard-working Blues had the better of the first half as Jacob Gregory tested goalkeeper Tom Stewart and then just before the break almost forced the opener with a curling effort which skidded inches wide.
At the other end the Blues’ back four kept the home side quiet, with centre-back Oliver Muir seizing his chance to impress, although goalkeeper Connor King – back after missing two games with a facial injury – twice had to be alert to save with his legs from Evangelinos and Iyrwah Gooden.
The duo couldn’t fine their way past the former Burnley youngster then, but 15 minutes into the second half they combined to give Ramsbottom the lead.
The home side had already gone close through Gooden, who clipped the best chance of the game to date wide of the target, and Chuku whose shot on the turn drifted across the face of goal.
And the Rams’ early domination of the second half finally paid off when they forced the break-through.
Former Mansfield winger Gooden did the damage down the right-hand side and from his low cross, Evangelinos side-footed in from the edge of the six-yard box.
Mulgrew had seen an effort saved before the Rams struck but Brown’s men then struggled to get a foothold back in the game.
The Blues’ boss sent on Connor Gaul to try and increase the threat but with 10 minutes to go Ramsbottom effectively wrapped up the points.
A free-kick deep into the penalty area picked out Chukwu and his volley added to the Rams’ home comforts as the Blues travelled home empty-handed for the first time this term.
Ramsbottom: Stewart, Adetiloye, Kennedy, Moran, Perkins, Lugsden, Gooden (Moncrieffe 84), Rother, Chukwu (Hmami 88), Fawns (Osi-Efa 62), Evangelinos. Substitutes: Jones, Minard.
Clitheroe: King, Gray, Dugdale (Gaul 60), Muir, Foulds, O’Neil, Gregory, Russell (Tanner 71), Watkinson, Mulgrew, Cummings. Substitutes: Terry, Connelly, Price.