Clitheroe eventually prevailed in a cracking match after going two goals behind, before snatching a deserved winner with the clock ticking down.
As early as the third minute, Clitheroe went close after great interplay saw debutant Craig Carney foiled by the keeper. Minutes later, Cole Lonsdale drove in a wicked free kick and the Pickering keeper did well to hold the ball as visiting strikers hovered for any slip. And then the game started to drift away from Clitheroe. On 9 minutes, a Pickering free kick was glanced just wide of the post, and even though Carney went close again minutes later, with Owen Watkinson just failing to score after rounding the keeper from the loose ball, it was Pickering who took the lead on 19 minutes. Lonsdale was caught flat footed and after a smart pass and move, Samuel Cable finished across Connor King.
Things got worse on 25 minutes when a low driven corner travelled unimpeded across the box, before a grateful Matthew Turnbull headed home. Oscar O’Neill fell awkwardly as the half ticked down and Terry Cummings came on as substitute. The substitution was to prove the key to victory. Minutes later, Connor Gaul was dropped in the box and dusted himself down to score. It could have been even better when on 43 minutes, Ollie Wood got his head to a great Gaul cross, but could not direct it under the bar.
The second half burst into life instantly and on 46 minutes a great run and scudding cross from Watkinson saw Wood stretch to reach the ball but see the ball squirt over the bar. One minute later, it was Pickering on the attack and a great cross from the right somehow eluded everyone. On 58 minutes, King was then called upon to make a fine save from a fierce shot. Pickering then rang the changes in personnel and took off their dangerous winger as if they wanted to defend their lead. This proved their undoing as Clitheroe grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and applied huge pressure.
On 76 minutes, Watkinson was fouled on the D of the area and Gaul drove a sumptuous free kick over the wall into the top corner. Pickering were not totally finished and Jacob Gregory made a great defensive header with King out of position, but in reality Clitheroe looked as if they could score with every attack as they exploited their right flank. It was no surprise when Cummings received the ball on the right, cut in twice, positioned the ball on his left foot and drove it across the keeper into the far corner. The impressive Clitheroe travelling support exploded with joy and celebrated a deserved third win on the bounce.
Team : Connor King, Jacob Gregory, Cole Lonsdale (Danny Gray), Jordan Downing, Markell Foulds, Oscar O'Neil (Terry Cummins), Craig Carney, Charlie Russell (c), Ollie Wood (Charlie Mulgrew), Owen Watkinson, Conor Gaul. Subs - Terry Cummins, Charlie Mulgrew, Danny Gray. Not used - Jake Connelly.