Sluggish Clitheroe struggle to recover

CLOSE CONTROL: Chris Dykes in action for Clitheroe FC against Kendal Town.
CLOSE CONTROL: Chris Dykes in action for Clitheroe FC against Kendal Town.
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Early goals paved the way for Kendal to record a regulation victory over lacklustre Clitheroe as in-form Danny Mitchley scored for the sixth game in succession.

The frontman netted his tenth of the campaign on Saturday while Zach Clark doubled the advantage against his former club to effectively seal maximum points in the opening 10 minutes.

For the third match running Steve Edmondson named an unchanged side, with Matthew Knipe replacing Martin Grundy on the bench from the squad on duty against Burscough.

Clitheroe finished eighth last season after racking up a record points haul at this level of football but have endured a difficult start this time around.

Manager Paul Moore had to contend with a number of key departures over the summer and arrived at Parkside Road without Simon Nangle, Will James and Scott Bakkor due to injury and suspension.

The home side blitzed their opponents in the opening stages and took the lead on five minutes through man of the moment Mitchley.

The former Altrincham forward took advantage of some hesitant defending to collect a ball from the left flank and fire a low shot across visiting keeper Richie Mottram.

The lead was doubled five minutes later through Clark, who was a Shawbridge regular during the 2009/10 season under Mintcakes legend Peter Smith.

The winger bagged his third goal of the campaign after exchanging passes with Mitchley before outpacing the Clitheroe defence and finishing past Mottram.

The visitors failed to create much at the other end, AFC Fylde’s on-loan Aaron Fleming shooting wide from the edge of the box after cutting inside from the right midway through the half.

And moments later skipper Jack Higgins was off-target with a back-post header following Fleming’s corner but that was as much as the away side could muster.

Kendal’s best chance to extend their lead came after 28 minutes as Niall Cowperthwaite volleyed over as Mitchley’s flick on allowed the centre-half a clear sight of goal.

The hosts were unable to replicate their lightning start to the first-half, although Warren Beattie tried his luck in the opening stages of the second period.

After a hurried Mottram clearance, the ex-Northwich Victoria midfielder attempted an audacious chip from 35 yards only for the keeper to regain his ground.

The game turned into a scrappy affair as the second-half wore on with both sides cancelling each other out and creating very little.

Mottram was called into action after 73 minutes, producing a fine finger-tip save to deny Wilson an appearance on the scoresheet for the first time this season.

By this stage Clitheroe had moved to a back three in a bid to push men forward and get back into the game, leaving space for Kendal to exploit in the latter stages.

Clitheroe’s only real goal-bound in the second-half came with seconds remaining as Craig Dootson turned behind a Fleming header from substitute Chris Dykes’ free-kick.

Clitheroe slipped to yet another defeat when they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Harrogate Railway Athletic on Tuesday night.