New-look Clitheroe unlucky on trip to Harrogate

On target: Ross Dent netted Clitheroe's second in the 3-2 defeat at Harrogate on Saturday
On target: Ross Dent netted Clitheroe's second in the 3-2 defeat at Harrogate on Saturday

A vastly-improved performance from the previous weekend saw Clitheroe unlucky not to leave Harrogate with a point.

Four new debutants continued Simon Garner’s recent policy of blooding new players in the team, with 18-year-old Cial Callagher starting at centre back, 17-year-old Bryn Potter on the right wing, and 28-year-olds Paul Coote and Matt McNamara spearheading the attack.

The game roared into life right from the kick-off. An early break down the left by the home side saw a snap shot across the face of goal amazingly hit both posts before bouncing to safety.

A minute later, Garner was beaten for pace and the forward’s deflected shot nicked the outside of the post.

But in the fourth minute, three of the new boys combined to help the Blues take the lead. A flick on by Potter on the right saw McNamara drive towards the bye line before firing a shot across the goal for Coote to stab home.

With Bailey operating on the left, Clitheroe had two genuine wingers for the first time in weeks, and the movement unsettled the home side. On 18 minutes, McNamara gathered the ball on the right, moved 20 yards infield and leathered the ball from distance against the bar, Coote just failing to follow up the rebound.

Ben Proctor was called into action on 38 minutes when a burst down the Harrogate right was followed up with a powerful shot.

However, two minutes later, following a similar move, Proctor came out to save, but a rebound left him in no man’s land on the edge of his box, and Nathan Cartman curled the ball past him into the net.

Half-time saw Ross Dent come on for Bailey, and the home side came more into the game.

But on 52 minutes, a ridiculously soft penalty was given as a Harrogate player folded himself round the legs of Garner for a penalty, which was converted by Colin Hunter.

Hunter made it 3-1 with 17 minutes left with a sweet left-foot volley, before, in injury time, Dent pulled one back when he headed home a fine left foot free kick from James Walker.