Garner cranks up the pressure on play-off rivals after hitting impressive milestone

Clitheroe player-manager Simon Garner (centre) in action on his 250th appearance for the club against Radcliffe Borough on Saturday. Picture: Peter Ryan
Clitheroe player-manager Simon Garner (centre) in action on his 250th appearance for the club against Radcliffe Borough on Saturday. Picture: Peter Ryan

Simon Garner has spoken about how honoured and privileged he feels after making his 250th appearance for Clitheroe Football Club.

The Shawbridge player-manager reached the remarkable milestone in the 4-3 triumph over Brighouse Town at the start of the month, though the 33-year-old admitted that he didn’t know anything about it.

“I only found out this week,” he said. “I knew I had played a lot of games for the club but I didn’t know that I’d reached 250. It was a shock to me when I was told about it while doing co-commentary for the LFA Challenge Trophy final.

“It was really nice to hear and it’s a great achievement. Not many players get to reach those kind of numbers in the modern game because they’re always on the move. It was a nice surprise.”

Garner started out in the Ribble Valley as a teenager during the 2002/03 term, making his league debut against Prescot Cables when the Blues were plying their trade in the North West Counties.

Since then he’s had four stints with the club and hit almost 600 career appearances with spells at Great Harwood, Kendal Town, Hyde United, Stalybridge, Fleetwood Town, FC United, Halifax, Chorley, Ramsbottom and Northwich Victoria.

Garner, who was first brought to the club by Lee Sculpher, said: “I have a real fondness for the club which I think shows in my career path. It’s a great club and it’s an absolute honour and privilege to be a part of it.

“I’m still playing and I want to keep that going for a bit longer. To have played 250 games is something that I’m really proud of and I’ve had some brilliant memories in that time that I can look back on.

“I made some good friends in that period and met some real characters. I’ve had some really enjoyable times and I will always hold this club close to my heart.”

The Blues are now up to sixth in the Evo-Stik First Division North after goals from David Lynch and Michael Hampson earned a 2-0 win over Witton Albion on home soil.

The craft and endeavour of Scott Harries down the right hand side paved the way for the home side’s opener just before the quarter-of-an-hour mark.

The winger picked out Louis Mayers who in turn teed up Lynch and the midfielder found the corner with his left boot.

Lynch then turned provider with seven minutes of the fixture remaining as his cross from the bye-line was cushioned in to the corner by the head of substitute Hampson.

The club’s seventh win in eight outings has now moved them to within a solitary point of the play-off places with a game in hand on Burscough.

“I’ve never won anything in my time here,” Garner said. “I want to try and do something that the club has never achieved before and that’s to make the top five of this division. That would be another great achievement for myself and the club.”