Clitheroe boss hopes lightning strikes twice

Clitheroe were unfortunate to lose at National League North side Chorley last time out last Tuesday night
Clitheroe were unfortunate to lose at National League North side Chorley last time out last Tuesday night

While we’re all heartily sick of the weather, Clitheroe boss Simon Garner is hoping lightning strikes twice on Saturday.

The Blues are the only team to beat Evo-Stik First Division North leaders Northwich Victoria so far this season, winning 2-0 at Shawbridge in September with goals from Scott Bakkor and Callum Hendry.

And Garner takes his side to Witton Albion’s Wincham Park face his former club at the weekend, looking to complete a shock double.

While Northwich are three points clear at the top, with two games in hand, Clitheroe have their own lofty ambitions, sitting sixth in the table, just a point outside the play-off places.

It is the start of a tough sequence of Festive fixtures, but, on the back of a fine performance in defeat at National League North Chorley last Tuesday, Garner is in defiant mood: “Northwich have done unbelievably well.

“It will be a tough test, but we’re the only team to beat them so far this season, and hopefully we can be the second as well!

“They are a great team, who play at Witton, where there is a great surface and set-up, but hopefully we can step up again.

“We do seem to play better against the bigger teams, but it’s about doing it consistently, week in, week out.

“We played really well against Chorley last Tuesday and were the better side, but we got beat.

“We’ve shown what we can do, Northwich are top for a reason, and it won’t be easy to get a result, but we have to try and recreate what we did to them at home.”

Clitheroe succeeded where 16 other sides have failed so far this season in sending Northwich away pointless, so what was the secret that day?: “To be honest, I wish I knew!

“But it was probably the best performance we’ve put in in my time in charge.

“Every player was at their best, everyone from 1-11 gave everything, and we concentrated for the full 90-odd minutes.

“We have to do that every week, rather than spurts in games, but everything just clicked last time.”

After Northwich, Clitheroe have a mouth-watering Boxing Day derby at home to Bamber Bridge, before they entertain second place Warrington Town the following Saturday – sandwiching a trip to lowly Harrogate Railway Athletic on Monday, December 28th.

And Garner feels this could be a pivotal time: “We kmow we won’t win every game, but it looks a tough run of games.

“If we want to achieve, we have to compete though.

“I couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone so far, I certainly would have taken it.

“I know there are no guarantees we will stay up there, we have to keep improving through hard work. There are a lot of good sides, and it is going to be tough.”