Play-off puzzle is falling into place ahead of ‘big game’ with Burscough

Clitheroe  celebrate Louis Mayers stoppage time winner at Bamber Bridge on Easter Monday. The win sent the Blues fourth in the table				Picture: Peter Ryan
Clitheroe celebrate Louis Mayers stoppage time winner at Bamber Bridge on Easter Monday. The win sent the Blues fourth in the table Picture: Peter Ryan

Blues boss Simon Garner says that different parts of the puzzle are being pieced together at the perfect time as the club moved another step closer to securing a play-off spot.

A total of 10 wins in their last 12 outings has moved Clitheroe up to fourth in the Evo-Stik First Division North standings, with just seven games remaining.

Garner’s side have scored 34 goals in that sequence, and have also registered four clean sheets in their last five appearances.

The latest triumph arrived on Easter Monday when Louis Mayers’ stoppage time winner against Bamber Bridge gave the Blues the edge in the fight for a top-five finish.

“The lads have been absolutely brilliant and they’re really buying into it,” said Garner. “I’m really pleased and this run could prove pivotal in our season. It couldn’t have gone any better. We’ve kept four clean sheets in five games now as well, which is very unlike our record from earlier in the season.

“The lads all want to win and we’re all aware of the quality that we’ve got in our squad. The way that we won our last game, with the final kick, made it even more special.”

The table suggests that the battle has now boiled down to four sides, with only three of those able to join Spennymoor Town in the end-of-season showdown.

Burscough, on the fringe of the play-off places, are just two points adrift of the Blues at present, having played a game more and the two sides meet at Victoria Park this evening (kick off 7-45 p.m.).

“It’s another big game,” said Garner, who will also go up against Mark Beesley’s men in a potential ‘decider’ on the penultimate fixture of the campaign.

“We’ve just got to keep this run going now and try to stay unbeaten over the final seven games. Beating them would give us some breathing space, but we’ve still got to play them again.

“It’s an important one, but I wouldn’t say it’s the be all and end all because there’s still six games left after this.

“It would give us a boost mentally though, and give us a psychological edge. We’ll just approach it in the same manner that we’ve approached every other game.”

Garner added: “That last-minute goal against Bamber Bridge was massive and gives us that momentum.

“The scenes were brilliant, and winning it in that way couldn’t have been any sweeter. It was the icing on the cake and gives us that added impetus going into tonight’s game.

“We’re just trying to keep a lid on things at the moment though.

“Nobody expected this at the start of the season, but everyone at the club is starting to believe now.

“We’ve got ourselves into the top five and we need to make sure that’s where we finish.”