Blues boss Lee Ashforth is challenging a number of his under-performing players to step up to the plate in the club’s battle to beat the drop.
Clitheroe were beaten 3-0 against Chasetown on Saturday, their 11th defeat in 14 games at Shawbridge this term, with some individual performances catching Ashforth’s eye for all the wrong reasons.
The former Ossett Town boss, who succeeded Stuart Mellish at the helm earlier in the campaign, feels some of his players are shying away from the challenge, and they could learn a thing or two from striker Max Hazeldine.
The club’s leading scorer played through injury, an ongoing issue with his hamstring, to help his side’s cause.
“Max [Hazeldine] told me that he could play but he’s really struggled,” said Ashforth. “We could tell in the first half-hour that he wasn’t running freely; he’s all about pace and getting in behind.
“It wasn’t happening for him, we knew that, so we took him off. We thanked him for having a go because he knew how important the game was.
“Max has got a great attitude, he has done all season, I’ve got a lot of time for the lad and he’ll go on to do well in football. Hopefully that will be here with me in charge, but, if not, I’m sure he’ll go on and get another club somewhere.
“He’s been great but a couple of the other lads have needed to step up to the plate and they haven’t done that. I’m disappointed with quite a few of them.”
The game was goalless at the interval but the visitors had their fair share of chances to get their noses in front.
Dan Vann saw his header cleared off the line by Jordyn Fitton early on while goalkeeper Ben Purdham made two splendid saves to deny Will Whieldon and then Izak Reid.
Chasetown didn’t have it all their own way, however. Curtis Pond made a number of saves to keep his side in the game, the best coming from Antoine Recizac when denying the striker in a one-on-one situation.
But it was the away side who upped the pressure in the second half and they had their reward just after the hour.
Tom Hill laid the ball back to Jack Langston from a corner and the midfielder drilled a low effort past Purdham to make it 1-0.
Harry Pratt’s header was cleared off the line by James Askey as the hosts pushed for an equaliser but the game was over as a contest in the 83rd minute.
Left back Callum Cockerill-Mollett received a pass from substitute George Cater inside the box and smashed the ball past Purdham at his near post.
In stoppage time, Hill notched his second assist with a through ball to Danny Cocks who slid the ball confidently home.
Ashforth said: “We went in at 0-0 at half-time and I thought we had defended brilliantly in the first half. They must have had 15 corners but we defended well against a strong wind.
“At half-time I told the lads to go out and create chances, get some shots away, get crosses in to the box, but we didn’t do any of that and I’m massively disappointed. There’s not much else to say really; we were beaten by a good Chasetown team.
“We’ve just got to keep going, keep trying, keep looking to get a result. I’m working really hard to get players in which I’ve been doing over the last few weeks. The results have been the same but we’ve got the experience in now.”