Clitheroe suffer narrow defeats in latest warm-up games

Action from Saturday's game at Squires Gate. Photo: Peter Ryan
Action from Saturday's game at Squires Gate. Photo: Peter Ryan

Clitheroe suffered two friendly defeats over the week, going down 2-1 at Squires Gate on Saturday before a 1-0 loss at home to Guiseley on Tuesday night.

On the Fylde coast on Saturday, the Blues management team made eight changes to the starting line-up from the FC United game last Tuesday night.

The first half was a scrappy affair with few opportunities for either side.

The Blues’ best efforts came a long-range shot from Brent Wood-Townend, while Charlie Collinge shot wide after Squires Gate failed to clear a corner.

Gate took the lead four minutes from half-time when a defensive lapse let their lively centre forward through to easily place the ball past Matt Green.

Right on half-time Liam Hutchinson shot from an angle which beat the keeper, but was cleared off the line by a Squires Gate defender.

The Blues made several changes at half-time, but the second half was only a few minutes old when disaster struck.

Green sliced an attempted clearance and it went back over over his head and left a Squires Gate forward with a simple finish to make it 2-0.

Cue more substitutions for the Blues, and there was an immediate response, with Danny Wilkins having a couple of good efforts, forcing the home keeper to make good saves, and midway through the half Callum Hoctor sent a diving header just over the bar.

An ankle injury to Ross Dent on 76 minutes led to him being carried off, before a goal for the Blues finally arrived on 83 minutes, when Richard Burns broke clear of the Squires Gate defence and squared perfectly for Dom Mulkerrin to finish comfortably.

With just a couple of minutes remaining, James Walker sent a rasping shot just over as Clitheroe chased a draw, but the hosts held on.

Then on Tuesday night at Shawbridge, Simon Garner’s side went down to a narrow 1-0 defeat against last season’s Conference North Play-off finalists Guseley.

The Blues worked hard against the Lions, but were beaten by a single second half strike from Adam Boyes.

Clitheroe are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Huddersfield to face West Yorkshire League club Shelley at Storthes Hall Park.

The Blues’ final warm-up game comes a week on Saturday at home to Ramsbottom United, before the action begins for real on Saturday, August 16th at Ossett Town.