Blues must forget pressure

Clitheroe striker Sefton Gonzales in action against Bamber Bridge on Tuesday night at Shawbridge							Picture: Paul Vause
Clitheroe striker Sefton Gonzales in action against Bamber Bridge on Tuesday night at Shawbridge Picture: Paul Vause

Former Clitheroe chairman Carl Garner vented his frustrations at the club’s recent slump but has told the players and staff to take pride in their achievements to date.

The Blues had climbed to third in the Evo-Stik First Division North table after accumulating 31 points from 12 outings, with their only defeat in that sequence inflicted by Trafford in February.

However, playing three fixtures in six days has seemingly taken its toll on a squad low on numbers.

A crushing 6-1 defeat against play-off chasing Burscough on Thursday night kickstarted the recent downfall, and two losses on home soil followed.

After Ossett Albion inflicted a 3-1 defeat at Shawbridge on Saturday, it was Bamber Bridge’s turn to sink the boot in on Tuesday night.

Clitheroe, who had beaten Brig at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Easter Monday, were a goal down after 21 minutes courtesy of Curtis Thompson’s stunning volley.

The visitors wasted little time in extending their lead as Chris Lynch put in to his own net just before the interval.

Alistair Waddecar made it 3-0 just minutes in to the second half after cutting inside and firing past Ben Woodhead, while Adam Dodd opened his account for the club to net the away side’s fourth just after the hour.

Ross Dent grabbed a consolation for the hosts with five minutes of normal time remaining, but defeat severely dented Clitheroe’s hopes of a top-five finish.

“I’ve had better nights,” said Garner, who also had a spell as manager. “Congratulations to Bamber Bridge for their performance and result. As for our lads, I’ve never in my life seen players lose their form and confidence as quick as some of our lads have in the last two weeks.

“We had gone third in the league a fortnight ago. At the moment we can barely put a side out, and some players look empty and totally spent and lacking confidence. Now we look a shadow of ourselves.”

Burscough head the Blues by a point, though they have a game in hand, and both sides meet on the penultimate day of the season. Garner added: “I’m not going to knock any of the guys, but you’ve got to dig deep now and bring this season to an end, something like it deserves.

“I’m not going to knock them because they’ve been brilliant, and they can still finish the best-ever for Clitheroe FC.

“I think we need to take stock. We have 66 points and they’ve been brilliant and they need to celebrate that, rather than knock themselves.

“We were favourites to be relegated by the bookies and we have done brilliantly, so don’t lose sight of that lads. Feel proud and celebrate the season you’ve delivered for the club and forget any pressure.”

The Blues travel to Farsley Celtic on Saturday, kick off 3 p.m.