Clitheroe just off play-off pace with two games left

EYES ON THE BALL: Chris Mason is pictured in action at Curzon Ashton on Saturday, with Ross Dent in the background

EYES ON THE BALL: Chris Mason is pictured in action at Curzon Ashton on Saturday, with Ross Dent in the background

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Despite a phenomenal season, Clitheroe look set to miss out on a top five finish in the First Division North.

Despite grabbing a point late on against Curzon Ashton at the weekend, results from Tuesday evening have left the Blues needing to take maximum points from their remaining fixtures while hoping teams above drop points.

Moore’s men are now four points adrift of Ramsbottom United who occupy the final play-off spot with a significantly superior goal difference to boot.

Jamie Henders’s late winner against leaders Skelmersdale United saw Cammell Laird climb to fourth on 77 points with a game in hand. Trafford also registered victory in the push for a top five finish as they beat Ossett Town 4-0.

A late Scott Bakkor leveller snatched a point for Clitheroe and kept alive their play-offs hopes.

Bakkor scored for the third game on the bounce to cancel out Matty Kay’s first-half opener for Curzon Ashton, whose own play-offs ambitions are fading fast.

The Blues had the better of the first-half but failed to make their advantage count with Daley Woods going close with a stinging long-range drive.

The Tamesiders took the lead three minutes before half-time as Kay headed past Hakan Burton.

The home side were much more dominant in the second period with the visitors relying on counter-attacks in a bid to get back into the game.

And with six minutes remaining, substitute Danny Mahoney teed-up former Rylands forward Bakkor who ensured the spoils were shared.

Paul Moore’s side entertain New Mills on Saturday (Kick-off 3pm) in the final home game of the season.

Clitheroe: Hakan Burton, Chris Smalley, Lee Pugh (c), Will James, Jack Higgins, Adam Birchall, Simon Nangle, Ross Dent (Chris Dykes), Scott Bakkor, Chris Mason (Dean Canning), Daley Woods (Danny Mahoney). Subs not used: Connor Smith.

In other news from Shawbridge, Dean Canning has announced his decision to retire at the end of the season.

He said: “Although I am very sad to retire, on a personal level I am very happy with my decision.

“I no longer feel I can perform to the standard I used be capable of. I feel that I am a shadow of myself having lost the fire in my belly for the game. But mainly it’s due to the fact that my priorities have changed.

“Although its only been a short spell I would like to thank everyone involved at Clitheroe FC for welcoming me to the club and showing the team great support. I sincerely hope the club can move forward onto bigger and better things in the future.”