CLITHEROE’S incredible start to the campaign continued as victories over Goole and Trafford saw the Blues climb to second in the Evo-Stik First Division North table.
Paul Moore’s side are now unbeaten in eight league games, recording three wins on the bounce, which has moved them to within two points of leaders Mossley, with a game in hand.
Mark Buchan, Alex Johnson and Leon Williams scored first-half goals to give the Blues a commanding lead against struggling Goole at Shawbridge on Saturday before Jack Cross replied for the visitors.
Both sides had a man sent off in the second period while Hakan Burton saved a Bill Law penalty as Clitheroe did enough to seal another three points.
New signing Buchan came close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute but lifted his shot over from close range.
Moments later, the former Greenock Morton forward saw a goalbound effort cleared off the line by Chris Ovington.
Buchan was not to be denied for a third time and raced onto Johnson’s through ball to coolly side-foot past keeper Adam Reid in the 26th minute.
The Blues were completely dominant and doubled their lead in the 33rd minute as Johnson hooked the ball home after a firm Daley Woods shot was blocked.
Two minutes later, Williams – whose clever pass had released Woods for Johnson’s goal – made it three as he rounded Reid to slide home his first goal for the club.
Goole had barely threatened but pulled a goal back on 39 minutes as substitute Cross found the roof of the net.
The visitors made a bright start to the second period with Sam Grimshaw rifling over before the match became disjointed as both sides were reduced to ten men.
Rob Bodie saw red in the 57th minute for kicking out at an opposing player although the numerical imbalance lasted a minute as Ovington received a second yellow for a lunge on Buchan.
John Reed’s men were awarded a penalty in the 72nd minute after Callum Richards was tripped by Lee Pugh, but Law’s spot-kick was saved by Burton diving to his right to keep the score at 3-1.
n On Tuesday evening, the Blues entertained Garry Vaughan’s high-flying Trafford where they picked up their best win of the season to date.
Chris Smalley and Jordan Williams scored to continue the Blues’ excellent start to the season, condemning Trafford to their first league defeat.
Clitheroe took the lead just before the half hour mark courtesy of Smalley’s powerful downward header from a Pugh corner – the defender’s first goal since April 2011.
There was further disruption at half-time for the Blues as Woods had to be substituted after picking up a knock.
However, his replacement, Jordan Williams, doubled Clitheroe’s lead five minutes after the restart as he arrowed an unstoppable 25-yard drive into the top corner.
Trafford looked for a way back and their best chance fell to striker Michael Oates – scorer of 15 goals this season – but he failed to force the ball home after a goalmouth scramble following a Sam Halligan free-kick.
The Blues travel to West Yorkshire on Saturday to take on third-place Farsley (kick-off 3pm), before entertaining Bamber Bridge at Shawbridge on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45 pm).