Blues have gone ‘above and beyond’ says boss

Simon Haworth, top left, and his management team
Simon Haworth, top left, and his management team
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Blues boss Simon Haworth admitted that the club’s successes to date have gone “above and beyond” his expectations.

On the pitch Clitheroe FC has embarked on a 12-match unbeaten streak, including 10 wins and two draws, that has pushed them to the periphery of the play-off spots in the Evo-Stik First Division North while helping them in to the latter stages of the LFA Challenge Trophy and the Integro League Cup.

That form, and the manner of it, has also brought in the accolades away from the club’s Shawbridge arena.

Having culminated 2016 by claiming the club of the month award, the Blues enjoyed a double celebration by heading in to the new calendar year as the division’s best behaved outfit.

Haworth’s men recorded four wins and a draw as they went through December unbeaten in five league outings, outstripping nearest rivals Ossett Town and Trafford on their points per game average.

And topping the fair play league the club is now in the running for a share of the £5,000 in prize money the league now hands out annually at the end of the season to promote sportsmanship and fair play, while backing the Football Association’s Respect campaign.

As in previous seasons, the 2016-17 season winners in each division collect £1,000, with the runners-up banking £500, and the third placed clubs £250.

The best behaved club across the three divisions will also be presented with the President’s Cup at June’s annual awards night at Blackpool’s Hilton Hotel.

“It’s gone above and beyond what we could’ve hoped for,” said the former Wales international. “We finished top of the fair play league for the whole of the non-league pyramid.

“That shows that we can compete while conducting ourselves properly. Everybody is behaving in the right manner.

“It feels like we’ve got plenty of momentum and these accolades are certainly helping with that. We’ve come such a long way in a short space of time. It’s better than I ever thought possible.

“It’s a good place to be at the moment. All this recognition is good because we’ve worked hard for this. Hopefully all these principles that we’ve put in place will be there long term.”

Meanwhile, the one-time Wigan Athletic striker hailed the character of his squad as they rounded off a long midweek journey with a 2-0 win over Workington AFC.

George West netted in the 13th minute to give the visitors the lead in the League Cup while Mitchell Bryant scored early in the second half to secure the club’s passage in to the third round.

The Reds were flying high in the division above and went in to the tie on the back of an impressive triumph over league leaders Rushall Olympic. However, they were no match for the Blues who had several of their big-hitters missing.

Haworth handed 16-year-old centre-forward Adam Bolton the chance to shine and also called on goalscorer Bryant, Ryan Cattermole and Chris Churchman.

“They were flying in the league above,” said Haworth. “We went there just hoping for the best but the lads were outstanding once again and they just keep delivering.

“A few lads came in who have been knocking on the door. Some of them hadn’t been getting a game, some of them haven’t even been in the squad because we’ve been doing so well.

“They came in and proved a point, which I wanted them to do. They took their opportunity. That was probably the most pleasing thing.

“We’ve got depth and the lads showed their togetherness. Everybody wants to be a part of it.

“That’s the key to all of this. We’ve got a great squad, a really good group of lads. Their attitude has been exemplary and that’s what we need. I’m really pleased with that.”

Clitheroe are back on the road on Saturday as they take on fellow high-fliers Farsley Celtic.