Haworth: Blues need to improve against top sides

Clitheroe celebrate Alex Newby's goal'''''''''''''''Pictures: Peter Ryan
Clitheroe celebrate Alex Newby's goal'''''''''''''''Pictures: Peter Ryan
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Blues boss Simon Haworth says that his side must improve against the better sides in the division if they are to break in to the Evo-Stik First Division

Of the eight games played against the league’s top six so far, Clitheroe have accrued just three points which came in November’s win against Hyde United at Shawbridge.

Skipper Danny Brady heads clear for the Blues

Skipper Danny Brady heads clear for the Blues

Haworth’s men have also shipped 24 goals in those fixtures against Scarborough Athletic, South Shields, Bamber Bridge, Trafford and Prescot Cables, who were 3-1 victors at Shawbridge on Saturday.

“I don’t think we were at our best basically, against the better teams in this league you need to be at your best,” said Haworth. “In general this season and last season we came up a bit short against the better teams.

“Ultimately that’s what we need to improve on if we want to get in the top six, I don’t think it’s anything more than we’re just a bit short as a team.

“I just don’t think we defended well enough today and in all fairness Prescot were just better. I think they deserved to win.

Goalkeeper Chris Thompson makes a save

Goalkeeper Chris Thompson makes a save

“We’ve won 10 out of our last 12 so I can’t be too harsh but ultimately the important moments in the game didn’t go for us.”

The visitors got off to a flying start when Chris Almond somehow managed to get on the end of a corner unmarked and he head past Chris Thompson to make it 1-0 in the 12th minute.

It became apparent then that Clitheroe were going to have to have a 90 minute dog fight to salvage something from this game and did respond well with two excellent chances one after the other.

Firstly, Ross Dent with a super cross into the box that almost caught out Ben Barnes in the Cables net who just tipped it away and then straight after Danny Byrnes, clean through on goal, dragged his shot wide.

Leading scorer Kurt Willoughby shouts for the ball

Leading scorer Kurt Willoughby shouts for the ball

As the game closed in on the half hour mark the Blues couldn’t believe their luck when referee Edward Stapleton awarded a penalty.

Step up leading scorer Kurt Willoughby. With the season he’s had, scoring 20 league goals including five spot kicks, the odds were in the striker’s favour.

However, he failed to reclaim top spot in the goalscoring charts as Barnes made a good save.

But it only took the hosts a matter of seconds to respond and get back on level terms. On this occasion it was Alex Newby who only had Barnes to beat when played through and the forward coolly slotted home.

The game took another turn five minutes later when Josh Klein-Davies made the most of some sloppy defending to curl a deflected shot around Thompson to make it 2-1.

Clitheroe were caught on the break early in the second half as they pressed for the equaliser and Almond was left with a tap in to restore his side’s two-goal advantage.

The hosts kept plugging away in a bid to salvage something and they went close to cranking the pressure back up.

Newby’s shot looked like it had crossed the line before a defender intervened but with no goal-line technology in operation, celebrations were muted and play continued.

In the end Prescot were simply the better side in a game which Clitheroe will ponder their mistakes which the Cables rightly capitalised on.

Team : Chris Thompson, Ryan Ellison (Jacob Gregory), Stephen Rigby, Ian Rowlands, Danny Brady (c), Ross Dent, Charlie Russell, Brad Carroll, Kurt Willoughby, Alex Newby, Danny Byrnes (Harry Blackburn). Subs - Harry Blackburn, Jacob Gregory. Not used - Joe Mitchell, Robbie Bromley, Jamie Hodgson.