Improved showing – but Clitheroe go down at Irongate

Action from Saturday's game at Bamber Bridge. Picture: Peter Ryan
Action from Saturday's game at Bamber Bridge. Picture: Peter Ryan

A feisty encounter went the way of the home side, but this was a vastly improved Clitheroe away performance, where more composure in front of goal might have reaped dividends.

Unsurprisingly, given their playoff aspirations, Brig were first out of the blocks.

On 10 minutes, a skimming cross was misjudged by Alex Palffy as he spilled the ball invitingly at the feet of Greg Johnstone, and he needed no second invitation.

Two minutes later, Danny Brady was called upon to make a fine sliding tackle to snuff out a dangerous cross, and on 16 minutes a snap volley from a Brig forward skimmed the bar.

A minute later the play swung to the other end and Dalian Barker was slipped through one on one with the keeper, but his shot was saved and Danny Morton could only just screw the rebound agonisingly wide.

The Blues took confidence from this, and Morton made two penetrating bursts down the right flank and pulled the ball back into dangerous positions, but with no end product.

On 26 minutes, Barker was again sent through one on one with the keeper, but his tame shot posed few challenges, while on 38 minutes, great interplay between Barker and Morton freed Dominic Mulkerrin, but he pulled the trigger too early as he forced a solid save from the keeper.

The Blues started the second half in the ascendancy and Simon Garner floated two tremendous free kicks agonisingly past the queueing Blues players.

Clitheroe were punished for their profligacy when on 54 minutes a driven free kick was expertly volleyed home at the near post by danger man Alistair Waddecar.

Former Blue Tom Williams came on and went close on 80 minutes after Palffy had parried a cross.

But while it was a 10th successive away defeat, there were positives to be taken from the game, not least the centre back pairing of Adam Freeland and Brady.

Clitheroe sign off for the season over the Easter weekend, at home to Curzon Ashton on Saturday and at Padiham on Monday.