Barnoldswick Town Reserves 0, Rimington 2

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RIMINGTON travelled to North West Counties League Reserve Division side Barnoldswick on Saturday and knocked out the holders of the Craven Cup with a very good performance on a heavy pitch.

In doing so the villagers avenged their semi-final replay defeat from last season, earning a trip to Ingleton in the next round.

Playing into a strong wind in the first half, the visitors took a little time to settle, but once into their stride looked the more likely to open the scoring.

They passed the ball well, using O’Neill and Sargeson down the flanks, and the latter had the first real chance of the half when he received the ball 12 yards out, but his left-foot shot was too tame to beat the keeper, who had a great first half to keep his team in the game.

Sargeson then beat the off-side trap to latch onto a superb ball from Dyson, racing clear, but the keeper produced a great save with his feet to thwart him.

He then punched away an inswinging corner from O’Neill as Dyson was about to head home, and then pushed away a fierce effort from Lloyd.

At the other end, Kershaw had much less to do, the back four defending well, but he had one save to make low down to his left which he dealt with comfortably.

The home side were constantly frustrated by Rimington’s off-side trap, but seemed unable to come up with other ways of attacking as they continually looked for the ball over the top for their pacy centre forward, although he found Hartley and Dyson up to the challenge.

The visitors, however, varied their play using the full backs Hutchinson and Fagan, who in turn fed Sargeson and O’Neill, and when they played the ball into the channels they found willing runners in Lloyd and McLean.

It was the skipper who came closest to breaking the deadlock just before half-time as he fizzed a shot across the keeper but just past the far post too.

Rimington continued where they left off in the second half, attacking down the wings but just missing that clinical final pass or telling cross, until midway into the half a piece of skill broke the deadlock.

Walsh was found by McLean and he took the ball in his stride, beat a defender and then slotted home an excellent finish to give the keeper no chance.

The home side then had their best phase of the game, pushing Rimington back into their own half and creating a couple of chances in doing so.

The left winger should have done better at the far post but failed to hit the target, and then Kershaw had to react quickly to keep out the centre forward.

As legs tired due to the ground and the enormous effort the players put in, Rimington had the luxury of a strong bench, bringing on Heslop, Wharton and Dinsdale, and the result was put beyond doubt inside the last five minutes when McLean, who had seen an earlier effort saved, smashed a right foot shot from just inside the area into the far corner to make it 2-0.

Boss Terry Braithwaite was pleased with his side’s efforts: “We worked really hard, especially into the wind in the first half, and certainly deserved our win.

“We were good value and hopefully we can continue this form in the coming weeks as the big games come thick and fast.

“I will have my work cut out to keep all the lads happy as I will look to keep them all match-fit, but they know what it’s all about at this stage of the season as we have been there and done it.

“We certainly won’t be taking anyone for granted as we want to maintain our challenge for the league and all three cups!”

• DESPITE defeat, this was a strong performance from the Wolves after an extended Christmas break.

Wolves had a great first half, with Smith and Simms standing out, and just before the break Joel Russell found the back of the net with a superb goal.

Rossendale were no pushovers and equalised in the second half, before Mark Walker hit the bar.

But Rossendale snatched a late goal to steal victory.

FINAL SCORE: Clitheroe Wolves Under 11s Green 1, Rossendale Valley 2