Last-minute heartbreak for Garner’s men at Shawbridge

Lloyd Dean netted twice for Clitheroe on Saturday
Lloyd Dean netted twice for Clitheroe on Saturday
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Simon Garner’s 100% home record as Blues boss came to an end at the death on Saturday.

Two evenly-matched teams slugged themselves to a standstill in driving wind and rain, and although a draw was a fair result, Clitheroe will be kicking themselves that they let three points slip from their grasp so late in the day.

Kicking with the wind, Clitheroe started much the brighter. Lloyd Dean and Sean Miller were working together well, with both almost springing the off-side trap.

After seven minutes, a Garner corner squirted out to Danny Wilkins, who failed to make clean contact. However, on 10 minutes, Garner laid the ball to Keith Wedge, overlapping at pace, and he pulled the ball back for Dean to slide home.

Four minutes later Dean could have doubled the advantage as he burst through the defence but flashed a left foot shot narrowly across the face of the goal.

A second goal seemed certain on 21 minutes when a sublime chip from Wilkins over a static back four put Miller one on one. He rounded the keeper, stayed on his feet despite a nibble from the stopper, but was dispossessed by a great covering tackle with the goal at his mercy.

However, against the run of play, Salford equalised.

Matthew Purcell beat Wedge down the flank, and when the ball ricocheted back from his cross, it was drilled home with cool precision.

Dean was still making chances as the half drew to a close, but Salford came nearest to scoring when Adam Reid made a great block with his legs after 41 minutes.

In the second half, the Blues were still initially dominant, and on 55 minutes, Morton surged down the pitch, played Miller through and his goal bound shot was helped home by Dean.

On 63 minutes, the home fans’ hearts were in their mouths, as Reid miscalculated the pace of a ball and was almost stranded in the face of an onrushing forward.

By on 88 minutes, a deep cross from the right was headed home at the far post by the Salford substitute David Chadwick.