Blues cruise to vital win

Clitheroe have signed former Preston North End keeper Steven James, pictured, and striker Darrhyl Mason from Witton Albion
Clitheroe have signed former Preston North End keeper Steven James, pictured, and striker Darrhyl Mason from Witton Albion

Simon Garner will slowly be running out of superlatives to describe his squad after the Blues made it nine wins from 10 in the Evo-Stik First Division North with a 3-0 win over third place Glossop North End.

Garner, who was bloodied and bandaged following an aerial collision after just 90 seconds of the fixture at Shawbridge on Tuesday, battled through the pain to help drive Clitheroe to fifth spot.

And the boss was ably aided by the personnel around him as the hosts blew the Hillmen out of the water.

Michael Hampson opened the scoring in the seventh minute when heading Scott Harries’ delivery beyond goalkeeper Andy Robertson.

After Jason Carey spurned the opportunity to draw the visitors level, dragging his effort wide of the upright when through on goal, the Blues doubled their advantage in the 35th minute. Harries broke away down the right hand side, beat his marker and slotted the ball home from an acute angle.

The scoring was completed before the interval and Harries was instrumental again when his enticing delivery was converted by the head of Sefton Gonzales, via a fortunate ricochet off the post and Robertson’s back.

The away side were then reduced to 10 men in the 73rd minute when full back Matthew Russell was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

“We were brilliant,” beamed Garner. “We were a different class. We don’t want to get too carried away because there’s still a job to be done but even they were glowing in their praise of us. We were at it from the start and we scored some good goals.

“It was one of our best performances of the season and now we’re looking to push up the table rather than looking over our shoulders. Obviously you play to win every game but to go on the run that we’re on is impressive.

“We’ve got that consistency and the lads are doing brilliant. Confidence is sky high and we just want to keep this run going for as long as we can to make sure that we cement a play-off spot.”

The club also handed debuts to goalkeeper Steven James, signed from Droylsden after Ben Woodhead was ruled out through injury, and former Witton Albion striker Darrhyl Mason.

“They were both superb,” Garner said. “It’s great for Steve to come in and keep a clean sheet in his first game for us. That’s a massive plus for him. He didn’t have too much to do because we defended well as a unit but he did what he had to do really well.

“We haven’t had many clean sheets this season so for him to get one will be great for his confidence.”

Garner added: “Darrhyl almost scored with his first contribution after coming on. He’ll be a big asset for us because he’s big and strong. He works hard and he’ll be a thorn in defenders’ sides.”

The Blues entertain Kendal Town on home soil on Saturday (kick off 3 p.m.) and travel to Bamber Bridge on Easter Monday.