Clitheroe stunned by Glossop smash and grab

Kurt Willoughby gets in position for a cross
Kurt Willoughby gets in position for a cross

The Clitheroe players and fans were left shell-shocked as Glossop North End scored the winner with minutes remaining from their only attack of note in the entire second half on Saturday.

With the game in doubt given recent postponements, the surface looked far better than anyone dared to imagine, albeit the left wings were extremely soft, forcing much of the play down the middle, or in Glossop’s case, in the air.

A committed aerial challenge at Glossop North End on Saturday

A committed aerial challenge at Glossop North End on Saturday

Playing into a modest breeze, Clitheroe shared the honours in the first half.

The first chance came on nine minutes when Joe Mitchell slipped Kurt Willoughby behind the defence, but his shot under pressure was comfortably saved.

Luke Wall was next to show on 17 minutes as he went on a mazy 50-yard run down the middle of the pitch, but he could not make his efforts pay.

The home side relied almost exclusively on the long ball and set pieces, and Danny Brady and his defensive colleagues had to be on their mettle.

The visitors should have taken the lead on 27 minutes, when Charlie Russell was dropped in a central position. Willoughby placed the ball and hit it at pace onto the post, with the rebound scudding agonisingly across the face of goal.

Further Clitheroe half chances came and went without ever really having a clean shot. Indeed, it was Glossop who finished the stronger, with real pressure down their left flank into the sandy bog. Three chances came and went, and although Clitheroe had a great period of interplay just before half-time, the teams went in goalless.

The second half was all Clitheroe until it really mattered.

On 51 minutes, Russell lobbed the defence, leaving Willoughby goal bound.

The keeper hared out but despite rounding him, the Clitheroe forward could not control the ball and get a shot off.

On 62 minutes, Russell was fouled, not for the first time, but the referee played a good advantage, and as the ball came in from the flank, Wall steadied himself, but his shot skimmed over the bar.

Other chances came, with Alex Newby adding a new threat when he came on.

On 65 minutes, Newby got to the bye-line and laid it back to Russell, whose shot went across the face of the goal.

On 70 minutes, Brad Carroll rode a number of tackles and freed debutant Louis Myers, who swapped feet and shot powerfully, only to see a despairing header steer the ball over.

Five minutes later, Russell was again in the thick of the action as he won the ball and then fed it to Myers, who skewed the ball across the face of the goal.

It was almost pre-ordained that Glossop would score, when on 86 minutes, a scruffy passage of play saw the ball go down the right hand channel, and after neat interplay, a firm shot from Benjamin Richardson was struck through legs into the far corner.

There was no coming back from this, but the Blues know that as the games run out, if they are to get their reward for their efforts, now is the time to hit the next run of form.

Clitheroe: Thompson, Ellison, Roberts, Rowlands, Brady (c), Russell (Churchman), Mitchell, Carroll, Willoughby, Myers, Wall (Newby). Subs not used : Bromley, Cattermole, Davies.