After the bitter disappointment of the Boxing Day game against Padiham, Clitheroe put themselves right back on track with a rip-roaring performance against leaders Warrington, in front of a raucous Shawbridge crowd.
From the first whistle, Clitheroe did not let their opponents have a second on the ball and with Sean Miller back in tandem with Lloyd Dean, and Danny Morton playing an unaccustomed centre forward role, the Blues made a host of early chances.
On six minutes, Dean and Morton combined well, but the final shot was put away for a corner. On 12 minutes, Dean passed the ball to Simon Garner who pinged a great cross field ball to Danny Wilkins who fed Miller, only for him to scoop the ball over. On 17 minutes, Dean and Morton almost unpicked the Warrington defence and when two minutes later Morton found himself clear on goal, his final shot let him down.
Warrington were not entirely without goal threat and the returning Wharton glanced a deep cross over the bar on 24 minutes. Two minutes later, Keith Wedge conceded a free kick for a body check on the corner of the Clitheroe box, and Reid went down well to gather the ball as it hurtled through a mass of bodies.
On 32 minutes, Wilkins burst down the right and carried the ball for 40 yards before the move fizzled out. Three minutes later he repeated the feat and having jinked past three players his cross to Miller saw him stub his shot with the goal at his mercy. Warrington almost took a shock lead when a miscued free kick by Will James in his own half fell to the feet of the dangerous Wharton, who having advanced on goal saw his shot well saved by Reid, who then smothered the follow up shot. A header by Wharton four minutes later narrowly over showed that he was the only realistic avenue for a Warrington goal.
The second half was still all Clitheroe and after 49 minutes a tremendous deep free kick by James Walker saw a perfect arched header by Ross Dent brilliantly saved by former Clitheroe stopper Ollerenshaw. On 54 minutes there was uproar when a blatant two footed tackle by Warrington substitute Bowen saw him receive only a yellow as well as one inexplicably for Freeland.
This simply spurred Clitheroe to up the temperature even further. On 64 minutes Miller went past two players and drove a great cross across the face of the goal but there was no-one to apply the finishing touch. Ten minutes later Freeland drove the ball powerfully over the bar, whilst on 77 minutes, Wedge went to the byline and pulled it back to Miller who just failed to convert.
On 80 minutes, Wilkins went past two and took the ball to the bye line but his effort was smothered. However, from the resultant corner Wilkins was bundled over in the box and a penalty was awarded. With penalty taker Dean off the pitch, Wilkins took the spot kick. His first effort was saved, but he made no mistake with the follow up. Still the Clitheroe work rate didn’t drop and the Warrington frustration was clear to see in extra time when Dogan was dismissed for an apparent flying head butt.
The whistle blew seconds later after order had been restored.