Clitheroe unbeaten – but unhappy

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IT has been a mixed bag for the Blues this week.

Despite maintaining their unbeaten start to the Evo-Stik First Division North campaign, Clitheroe slipped out of their third cup competition.

On Saturday, Paul Moore’s side surrendered a two-goal lead as basement side Wakefield departed Shawbridge with a share of the spoils.

Goals from Daley Woods and Danny Bell had put the Blues firmly in control during a dominant opening only for the visitors to reply with a quick-fire double to draw level before half-time.

The game was only two minutes old when a seemingly harmless cross from Woods was fumbled into his own net by keeper Neil Bennett, who was making his Wakefield debut.

The hosts were very much in the driving seat at this stage, with Alex Johnson and Bell both having chances to extend the lead before the pair combined in the 29th minute to double Clitheroe’s advantage.

Johnson slipped in Bell, who beat Bennett with a left-footed effort.

Despite the hosts appearing in total control, Wakefield drew level with two goals in the final eight minutes of the half.

Hakan Burton had pulled off an impressive save to deny Harry Blakey from close range moments before Lee Turner found the top corner from
18 yards after a Dave Pickering cross.

And the visitors equalised on the stroke of half-time as a collective defensive failure afforded Blakey an opportunity to bear down on goal and finish past Burton.

The second period was a frustrating affair, with Clitheroe unable to establish any real momentum or rhythm and Wakefield content to wind the clock down from a relatively early stage.

It was a tactic that paid off, though it was an outcome that saw the Blues remain undefeated for the opening five league matches of a season for the first time since 2003.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening, Marine inflicted defeat on Clitheroe to ensure the Blues’ participation in the Lancashire Co-operative Trophy was shortlived.

Liam Dawson’s goal five minutes into the second half proved to be the winner after a superb finish from Michael Ordish had cancelled out Woods’ early strike.

Clitheroe took the lead as early as the fifth minute when a fierce Woods drive from the edge of the penalty area whistled past Callum Williams in the Marine goal.

The hosts were almost level within minutes as Karl Noon latched on to a long Williams goal-kick only for his attempted lob over Richie Mottram to drift narrowly wide of the post.

A Lee Pugh free-kick drew a good save from Williams before Glodi
Kuba-Kuba raced on to a ball forward after 35 minutes, rounded the keeper but could not apply the necessary finish.

As the half was coming to a close, Liam Dawson fired into the side-netting
before Ordish found the top corner with a sweet left-footed volley from outside the penalty area which gave Mottram no chance.

The Clitheroe defence was breached again five minutes into the second period as Joe Holt played in Dawson to finish past Burton, who had replaced Mottram at the break.

The hosts came close to extending their lead midway through the half, but Jack Higgins was able to hook Holt’s near-post header from an Ordish cross off the line.

Noon then freed himself from the attentions of the visiting defence, but saw his effort from the edge of the box tipped over by Burton for a corner.

Clitheroe were always in this game and engineered a late chance when substitute Leon Williams raced on to Kuba-Kuba’s perfectly timed throughball only to be denied by the frame of the goal shortly before the final whistle.

Moore will be hoping his side can reproduce this level of performance on Saturday as he welcomes one of his 
former clubs, Warrington Town, to Shawbridge.