Blues boss Simon Garner believes his side’s strenuous semi-final last week may have hindered their display against Kendal Town.
Clitheroe booked their place at the Macron Stadium, the home of Bolton Wanderers, on March 16th for the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final after beating Atherton Collieries 2-0 with 10 men in Leyland.
After a goalless first half in Cumbria, the hosts went ahead when Jordan Connerton netted from the spot once Seydou Bamba had upended Town substitute Zach Clark.
Cory Bent equalised for the Blues in the 71st minute when his strike cannoned in off the post while fellow teenager Ryan Cattermole put the away side ahead with just six minutes of normal time remaining to register his first senior goal.
However, Town replied within minutes when goalkeeper Peter Collinge’s mishap gifted Connerton his second of the afternoon to leave both sides with a share of the spoils.
Talking to the club’s official website, Garner said: “I’m obviously disappointed to only take a point from the game after going in front with five minutes left.
“Young Ryan Cattermole was absolutely superb and he’d have been my man of the match. It’s not fair on him that he didn’t get the winning goal because it would’ve capped a fine performance.”
Garner added: “Some of the lads were off it, they looked a bit leggy after Tuesday. We were dominant in the first half without scoring and second half I knew Kendall could only get better. They did that and we made a mistake by giving a penalty away. They’ve scored it and got their tails up.
“We got the two goals and we should hold on to that kind of result. We gifted them a goal so I’m disappointed not to go away with the three points.
“The positives are the young lads; Cory scored again and played well, Ryan was superb and scored. They’re two 18 year olds. Joey (Mullen) came off the bench and he’s another 18-year-old.”
The Blues now face title-chasing Darlington 1883 on home soil on Saturday, kick-off at 3 p.m. “There’s loads of positives but I’m going to be kind to them and say that some of them may have been a bit tired from Tuesday,” said Garner.
“They put a lot of effort in but I expect more from them. I expect a big reaction on Saturday when Darlington come here. There should be a big crowd and I’m looking for a big performance from the lads.”
• Tickets for Clitheroe’s LFA Challenge Trophy Final with Conference North side Chorley are on sale at the Blues’ home game with Darlington on Saturday.
Prices, for the game at Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium a week on Monday, are £8 adults and £4 concessions, and tickets are also available from Banana News on Castle Street, Clitheroe, or from Andrew Jackson on 07788662294.