The Blues’ first match of 2016 ended in a disappointing 5-2 defeat against title challengers Warrington Town on Saturday at Shawbridge.
Simon Garner’s side was depleted, with both David Lynch and Chris Lynch unavailable, and Louis Mayers suspended.
Only three substitutes were named.
The Blues were slow out of the blocks, and were punished early by a rampant Town side, who raced into a three-goal lead before the half hour mark.
Chris Gahgan fired them in front after just six minutes, when he was allowed time and space to place his shot to Ben Woodhead’s left.
Gahgan added a second on 12 minutes with another excellent first-time shot from just outside the area.
Ciaran Kilheeney made it 3-0 on 27 minutes, when he ran on to a long diagonal pass and neatly chipped the ball over Woodhead.
A minute before the break, recent signing Kurt Willoughby pulled one back for the Blues, finishing well after good work from James Walker and Garner, to make the half-time score 3-1.
The Blues started the second half the better, and began to give the Warrington defence a few problems.
The breakthrough came on 59 minutes, when Sefton Gonzales dived in to head home from close range after his initial shot was blocked on the line by James McCarten.
Despite increased pressure from the Blues, it was Warrington who made it 4-2 on 65 minutes through Nathan Burke, who headed home unmarked.
And in stoppage time, Burke again was the man on the spot to grab a fifth goal for Warrington.
That completed an impressive victory for the visitors, and signalled a second-successive 5-2 home defeat for the Blues.
Clitheroe travel to face Trafford on Saturday, kick-off 3 p.m., before their next home game the following Saturday, when Brighouse Town are the visitors.
Clitheroe lined up: Ben Woodhead, Jimmy Heywood (Wes Benjamin 79), Brandon Barski (Ryan Steele 74), Roberto Bonaminio, Danny Brady, Simon Garner, Scott Harries, Ross Dent, Sefton Gonzales, Kurt Willoughby (Scott Bakkor 64), James Walker.