Clitheroe back on track

Alex Ralph fires Clitheroe ahead at Shawbridge against New Mills on Tuesday night
Alex Ralph fires Clitheroe ahead at Shawbridge against New Mills on Tuesday night
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Blues boss Simon Garner heaped praise on debutant Oliver McLean after the striker fired Clitheroe back to winning ways.

McLean, who captained Rimington to the East Lancs First Division championship, the West Riding County Cup and the Craven Cup last term, netted in either half as the Blues ended a run of five successive defeats, and 12 games without a win, as they beat New Mills 3-2.

Alex Ralph opened the scoring at Shawbridge on Tuesday night before McLean doubled the advantage. Daniel Grimshaw pulled a goal back for the visitors from the spot but McLean restored the cushion in the 53rd minute. Rhys Nevins set up a nervy final five minutes but the Blues held firm.

“Oliver made his debut and he was great,” said Garner. “His endeavour, attitude and commitment seemed to rub off on everybody else. He worked himself in to the ground and it was an amazing debut.

“He scored twice and got man of the match so he couldn’t have done much more. He’s a local lad who really wants the best for the club and that’s the type of player we want at the club. He’s a big lad, he’s strong and very fit so hopefully we will continue to get better.”

Now Garner is hoping for a resurgence from his side after witnessing the match-winning display that brought an end to the slump.

“It was a big sense of relief,” he said. “That’s the reaction and performance we’ve been waiting for. To a man they were brilliant and they did everything we wanted. It still wasn’t perfect, we still made mistakes and we were holding on a bit at the end.

“The application of the group was excellent and that’s the minimum we expect every week. If they give you that level of effort week in week out then you can’t ask for any more.”

Garner added: “When they play to that standard the quality shines through and they get on top of teams. We want to kick on from here, we want to end the season on a positive note, but we won’t be getting carried away with one win.”

Clitheroe take on Northwich Victoria on Saturday, kick-off 3 p.m., as Garner returns to face his former club.

l Clitheroe host trials for their newly-formed youth team a week tonight, Thursday, March 6th, between 8-9 p.m. at Accrington and Rossendale College’s 3G pitch.