Big-spenders Chester don’t scare Clitheroe

NET ASSET: Tom Williams was on the mark in the defeat to Wakefield, and will be looking to hit the mark again in Saturday's big clash at leaders Chester
NET ASSET: Tom Williams was on the mark in the defeat to Wakefield, and will be looking to hit the mark again in Saturday's big clash at leaders Chester

HOPEFUL Blues boss Peter Smith is praying his side can adapt to the conditions at the summit of the Evo-Stik First Division North as Clitheroe get set to lock horns with leaders Chester.

The Blues faltered once again at Shawbridge on Saturday after struggling to acquaint themselves with a heavy pitch against a strong Wakefield outfit.

The hosts failed to compete physically with their West Yorkshire rivals, and paid the penalty after the break when Danny South opened the scoring on the hour mark with a scorching 25-yard effort.

Brandon Kane doubled the away side’s advantage in the 78th minute, but Tom Williams gave the Blues hope as he halved the deficit with five minutes remaining when he spun on the edge of the six-yard box before slotting the ball home.

Wayne Shooter restored Wakefield’s two-goal advantage in the 90th minute, but there was still time for Jack Higgins to score from the penalty spot after Clitheroe midfielder Gavin Lee Ellison was felled in the box, though the Blues were condemned to a 3-2 defeat.

“I’m a bit disappointed to be honest,” Smith said.

“It was a game we needed to win to keep us in there.

“Wakefield made it difficult for us – the pitch was heavy which suited them because they were a big strong side.

“They stopped us from playing, they defended well and we couldn’t break them down. The conditions on the day suited them and didn’t suit us but all credit to Wakefield.

“We didn’t test their keeper at all in the second half.

“He got injured making a save but they defended him well.

“In the first half, we had two or three great chances but we failed to test the keeper with them, because we kept putting them wide.

“They had four chances and scored three goals; two of them being mistakes on our part.

“But that happens in football sometimes – it’s just a shame we didn’t perform on the day.”

But the Blues now move on to a top-of-the-table challenge at the Deva Stadium on Saturday against Neil Young’s Chester.

The Blues have lost just twice in the league with their last fixture on home turf, resulting in a 6-0 thrashing of Ossett Albion.

However, Smith has urged his players to show ‘no fear’, though he expects a better defensive display as they face 27-goal Michael Wilde.

He said: “It’s a game where people won’t expect us to get something and we have a habit of getting points at places where we’re not expected to.

“We will go there, and hopefully the lads will perform and in this league anybody can beat anybody. I won’t be going there fearing them, I feel we can get a result against anyone.

“Bottom club Leigh drew with Chester last week, which shows just how good a league it is.

“Teams like Chester are splashing the cash, yet teams at the top and pushing the boat out are not getting it all their own way.

“Our away form is quite impressive, but I would have preferred another home game as that’s where your main support is.

“We want to get back on the right track and make it a hard place for teams to come.

“Our home record hasn’t been brilliant and I would have liked to have improved on that.”