Clitheroe beaten by late strike

Pictured, top, Daley Woods in action, and, below, Clitheroe's new signing from Runcorn Linnets, Sean Pearson
Pictured, top, Daley Woods in action, and, below, Clitheroe's new signing from Runcorn Linnets, Sean Pearson
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Clitheroe surrendered a half-time lead as their five-match winning streak came to an end against Cammell Laird at the Kirklands Stadium.

A late winner from substitute Aaron Bowen secured the points for Lairds after a Jamie Henders penalty dragged the home side level at the beginning of the second period.

Goals from Danny Bell and Will James towards the end of the first half had seen Clitheroe overturn Freddie Potter’s early strike.

Paul Moore remains without the services of Lee Pugh and Rob Bodie was also unavailable for this fixture so the Blues’ backline had an unfamiliar look.

Chris Smalley partnered Jack Higgins in central defence with Ross Dent and James right and left back respectively, while Moore handed new signing Sean Pearson a debut in central midfield.

Cammell Laird have taken points off some of the division’s leading lights this season in Trafford, New Mills and Farsley and started this match in competitive fashion.

The hosts opened the scoring after six minutes as Potter volleyed home unmarked at the far post after Lee Atherton’s flick on from an inswinging Joe Evans free-kick.

After Henders blazed wide from inside the penalty area, Danny Mahoney saw his downward header from a Bell corner midway through the half cleared off the line.

The visitors rallied in the final stages of the half and levelled matters on 39 minutes.

Bell scored his fourth goal for the club as he steered a low Daley Woods cross from the right past keeper Kevin Atherton after Chris Mason’s clever step over.

Moments before the interval, Clitheroe turned the game on its head as James ran onto Mason’s flick just inside the Cammell Laird half before outpacing the home defence and finishing smartly.

However, the away side were unable to make the most of a strong finish to the opening period and within five minutes of the restart Lairds restored parity.

Henders forcefully scored his 15th goal of the season from the penalty spot after Dan O’Brien was adjudged to have been fouled in the penalty area.

Clitheroe went on to play some neat football during the second period but were unable to add to their tally.

Just past the hour mark, Woods fired a shot across goal and narrowly wide of the far post after exchanging passes with Mason and beating the final covering defender.

Scott Bakkor again looked lively after replacing Bell, driving at the Lairds defence after an excellent tackle from Simon Nangle but failing to hit the target.

With the match seemingly drifting towards a draw, Potter’s pinpoint cross from the right was headed past Hakan Burton by former Skelmersdale United forward Bowen in the 87th minute.

Clitheroe could not muster any form of recovery in the time remaining and fell to their third league defeat of the season.

The Kirklands Stadium has been anything but a happy hunting ground for the Blues in recent years and so it proved once more.

Paul Moore’s side now find themselves third in the league and will hope to commence another winning run when they travel to Harrogate Railway Athletic on Saturday (kick-off 3 p.m.).

Clitheroe: Burton, Dent, James, Smalley, Higgins (c), Pearson, Nangle, Woods, Mahoney (Buchan 77), Mason (Calvert 73), Bell (Bakkor 67). Subs not used: Dykes

Attendance: 38