Clitheroe lose out in derby

AWAY SUCCESS: Clitheroe celebrate one of the goals in their 3-0 victory over Wakefield on Saturday.
AWAY SUCCESS: Clitheroe celebrate one of the goals in their 3-0 victory over Wakefield on Saturday.
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Clitheroe’s five-match unbeaten run came to an end as Ramsbottom United continued their impressive march towards the play-offs.

After recording three successive clean sheets, a Phil Dean penalty together with second-half strikes from Andy Dawson and substitute Glodi Kuba-Kuba consigned Paul Moore’s side to defeat.

There was a solitary change from the team which comfortably defeated Wakefield at the weekend with Ross Dent replacing Dean Canning.

After a series of early Clitheroe corners, Ramsbottom had the first clear sight of goal on 14 minutes as Danny Warrender glanced a Gary Stopforth free-kick wide of the post.

The visitors’ best chance of the opening period fell to Chris Mason midway through the half but his shot from an acute angle was turned behind by Peter Collinge.

Ramsbottom’s away form has eclipsed their home results so far this season but the hosts took the lead on 27 minutes from the penalty spot.

Jack Higgins was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball as he challenged Lee Gaskell, with Dean rifling the resulting penalty high into Hakan Burton’s net.

Excellent defending from Higgins denied Dominic Smalley before Burton pulled off a smart save to prevent Jordan Hulme heading a second as the half-time whistle approached.

Neither side created any clear-cut chances of note in the opening stages of the second half although Clitheroe rallied shortly after the hour mark and came close to equalising.

Danny Mahoney saw his header from a 65th minute Lee Pugh corner deflected behind before Chris Smalley’s header from another Pugh set-piece hit the crossbar.

Ramsbottom – now unbeaten in eight league games – all but settled matters with quarter of an hour remaining as Dawson headed home a Stopforth corner from the left flank.

With seven minutes left on the clock, the outcome was put beyond all doubt when former Blues striker Kuba-Kuba added a third.

The forward took advantage of a defensive lapse to race clear and calmly finish past Burton for his first goal for the club.

Clitheroe rallied towards the end but could not find a way past a stubborn Ramsbottom defence.

With 10 games now remaining, the Blues will look to return to winning ways on Saturday when they travel to Prescot Cables (kick-off 3 p.m.).