Clitheroe boss Simon Garner was mightily relieved to take three points from Burscough’s Victoria Park following a dramatic end to the midweek fixture.
The Blues, looking for only their second win on the road this term, were leading 2-1 against the Linnets with less than a minute of normal time remaining when on-loan goalkeeper Andrew Dawber conceded a penalty.
The 19-year-old, who has made five appearances in League Two for Accrington Stanley plus another in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, made amends by saving the spot kick but in a moment of madness was sent off for dissent.
Striker Sefton Gonzalez, who had restored the away side’s lead after Burscough’s Matthew Devine had cancelled out Nicholas Ryan’s 47th minute own goal, was then given the responsibility of standing in for Dawber.
“It was a good win but it could’ve been different,” said Garner. “We’ve conceded a penalty with 40 seconds to go, our keeper has saved it, but then has been sent off for dissent in the aftermath. I think the adrenaline was flowing.
“We’d already used all three of our substitutions so Sefton Gonzalez, who scored the winner, went in nets and we were down to 10 men having to defend a corner. Luckily the ball has ended up in Sefton’s hands. You couldn’t write it!
“Andrew is only young and he’ll learn from it. He’s a good lad and wouldn’t normally say ‘boo’ to a goose so we couldn’t believe it. It was a great result for us though.”
Prior to the Evo-Stik First Division North clash, Garner had expressed a desire to beat teams in and around them in the table. And they did just that after the 1-1 stalemate at Shawbridge against Radcliffe Borough at the weekend. The Blues are now 15th having lost a solitary game in their previous five league outings.
“We’ve gone above them in the table now,” Garner said. “We climbed four places with that win and we’re only two points from 10th. We want to beat the teams around us because it’s a tight league.
“Any win away from home is good so we want to build on that now. We want to put a run together. Our form is much better and it makes a big difference to the mentality of the players.”
Clitheroe, who handed starts to new signings Matty Fearon, Cory Bent and Sam Dickinson, will now host Droylsden in the Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy on Saturday, kick-off 3 p.m.
“The Trophy is a big competition for us,” added Garner. “It’s our version of the FA Cup. Droylsden will be a very good test for us. We played them at the start of the month and gave them a very good game.
“They beat us 2-0 but scored their second late on when we’d committed men forward in search of the equaliser. Hopefully we can go there, get a result and book our place in the next round.”