Clitheroe get off to false start after two narrow defeats

Action from Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Ossett Town. Picture: Peter Ryan
Action from Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Ossett Town. Picture: Peter Ryan

Clitheroe have started the Evo-Stik First Division North season with two narrow defeats.

On Saturday the Blues went down 2-1 at Ossett Town, before losing by the same scoreline at home to Bamber Bridge on Tuesday night.

At Shawbridge in the derby, Brig went in at the break two goals to the good.

The visitors went ahead when Chris Marlow fnished off a flowing move, heading in Alistair Waddecar’s cross.

And Brig doubled their advantage when Marlow teed up Matty Kay, who found the net with a ferocious 25-yard strike.

While Bamber Bridge had dominated the first period, Clitheroe responded well in the second.

The Blues peppered the visitors’ goal, and finally made the breakthrough just after the hour with a close range header from Adam Freeland.

Brig rallied, and Clitheroe’s hopes of snatching a point were hit seven minutes from time when captain Steve Mercer was dismissed for a second bookable offence, following a foul on Stuart Vasey.

On Saturday at Ossett, the hosts had the wind advantage in the first half, and, not surprisingly, had the better chances, with Chris Ovington having a couple of openings early on.

Clitheroe’s first sight of goal came on 14 minutes, when a surging run into the box from Danny Wilkins ended with a poor clearance to Mike Aspin, whose shot was blocked by a defender.

A blow for Blues came on 18 minutes when player-manager Simon Garner picked up a foot injury in a 50/50 challenge and had to be replaced by Danny Morton.

Ossett went ahead on 27 minutes and the wind played a huge part. Ovington’s cross looked harmless until the wind caught it and went over Matt Green and off the bar, with Josh Whiteley on the spot to bundle the ball over the line.

The Blues’ best chance came right on half-time when James Walker’s in-swinging free kick was powerfully headed by Mercer, and Ossett keeper Sam Dobbs pulled off a brilliant save.

Second half saw the Blues with the wind in their favour, and within seven minutes they were level.

Liam Hutchinson controlled the ball well and hit a low shot from 25 yards which deceived Dobbs and ended up in the bottom corner of the goal.

Clitheroe were in the ascendancy, and almost took the lead on 70 minutes. A superb through ball from Wilkins found substitute Peter Dunkerley, whose beat Dobbs, but the ball was cleared off the line by an Ossett defender.

Despite the greater possession, Blues only had a couple more half chances for Dunkerley and Morton, and when it looked liked a well-earned point had been gained, the home side won the points two minutes into stoppage time.

Ovington took the ball in to the box and his shot from a tight angle was good enough to cross the line despite Green’s efforts to stop it, leaving the Clitheroe players understandably dejected.