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Late goal earns Clitheroe draw against league leaders

Goalscorer Sefton Gonzales in action against Workington Town.
Goalscorer Sefton Gonzales in action against Workington Town.
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Clitheroe put in a valiant display to deny league leaders Darlington FC what would have been their eighth win in a row.

Despite going down to 10 men the Blues refused to give up, a 90th minute goal from Sefton Gonzales earning them a deserve d point.

A goalless first half was a base for an exciting second in which Clitheroe stayed on par with the Evo-Stik North leaders until a Terry Gilbraith header found the goal on 63 minutes.

The equaliser was preceded by what appeared to by a stray elbow from Blues midfielder Daniel Wilkins, the ensuing chants of “off” from the 1,000 home fans and crowding of referee Lindsey Robinson resulted in Wilkins being shown the red card ain the 80th minutes.

The match had a high tempo throughout with Darlington forward Stephen Thompson unlucky not to score in the opening two minutes, denied only by Clitheroe goalkeeper Stephen Dawber’s crossbar following a cheeky dink outside the box. The home side dominated early on, forcing Dawber into action on a number of occasions.

However, The Blues came to life after the first 10 minutes with sustained pressure on the Darlington defence resulting in Jay Hart finding himself one on one with The Quaker’s goalkeeper Peter Jameson, only to have his shot blocked by the Darlington number one.

Early in the second half it was Hart again who could count himself unlucky, a curling shot from just inside the box had Jameson beaten but not his left side post.

The draw gave debuts to both of Clitheroe’s newest recruits, Laquan Esdaille started at centre back whilst his fellow new arrival Carl Mercer was introduced in the second half for Jason Hart.

A sodden pitch caused debate before the match with referee Robinson conducting a pitch inspection an hour before kick off, although playable the drenched patches caused issues with the ball stopping in its tracks numerous times and flat unpredictable bounces caught the 22 men out.

Clitheroe manager Simon Garner was “delighted” with the draw praising the “brilliant” performance from his men.

Clitheroe remain in 12th place of the Evo-Stik First Division North two points behind 11th place Harrogate Railway Athletic and 17 points from Darlington who retain top spot.

Clitheroe team: Dawber; Morton, Bonaminio, Esdaille, Walker; Wilkins, Garner, Lynch, Burns (Dent 85); Gonzales, Hart (Mercer). Subs (not used): Palffy (GK), Bamba, Ralph.

Attendance: 1,023