Blues look to arrest slide

Simon Garner.
Simon Garner.

Simon Garner is hoping the Blues can reignite their campaign with victory over Ossett Town at the weekend.

The Shawbridge player-boss is determined not to let the season peter out, after a fourth defeat in five Evo-Stik First Division North outings saw them slip away from the play-off spots.

The Blues dropped to 12th ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Yorkshire, yet are still only six points outside the top five.

Clitheroe have not won a league game since the 6-1 home victory against Droylsden back in November.

“We want to give ourselves something to play for,” said Garner.

“The next four games for us could be key.

“We’ve got to win those games if we’re to continue punching above our weight in the division.

“If we want to be up there we’ve got to get back to winning games.

“They are vital now so we need to kick on.

“We don’t want the season to peter out.

“There are 10 teams vying for the final play-off spaces and we want to remain a part of that.”

Town, who are desperately treading water in the table as they sit just two points above the relegation zone, pulled off a shock victory in the Ribble Valley in September, and Garner is expecting a similar test.

With the Blues having accumulated just five points in seven games, and their opponents picking up a solitary point in that schedule of fixtures, Garner said: “We’re both out of form and both wanting to get back to winning ways.

“We’ve lost a similar number of games recently, and that, on top of not playing due to the weather, has seen us drop like a stone.

“It’s always a tough place to go, but we need to win if we want to get back to where we want to be.”

Nathan Fisher’s strike proved the difference at the weekend as Clitheroe lost out 1-0 to fellow play-off chasers Spennymoor Town at Shawbridge.

However, Garner rued his side’s misfortune as key decisions went against them.

The match official failed to penalise Kallum Griffith’s handball to deny substitute Kurt Willoughby’s header, while Ross Dent’s late strike was adjudged not to have crossed the line.

“They played well,” said Garner.

“We conceded a poor goal after just four minutes, but we were the better team after that.

“We just didn’t get the result that we deserved.

“It was frustrating because the referee missed a blatant handball which would’ve led to a sending off with 20 minutes remaining.

“It was unbelievable.

“And then he waved play on after a shot went over the line from a goalmouth scramble.”