Simon Haworth believes that he has just scratched the surface of Clitheroe’s potential having governed one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history.
The Blues boss claimed that this is just the beginning for the Ribble Valley outfit despite their campaign all but coming to an end on Easter Monday.
Clitheroe reached the semi-final stages of the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy and the Integro League Cup this term and saw their hopes of cementing an Evo-Stik First Division North play-off place dashed with a last minute loss against rivals Colne.
The visitors started well at the XLCR Stadium and Kurt Willoughby went close to increasing his personal goal tally when his shot rebounded off the post in the second minute.
The Reds drew first blood minutes later when Spencer Jordan’s cross from the bye line was turned home at the near post by Chris Lynch.
Haworth’s men levelled just after the half hour when Dimitri Tuanzebe glanced full back Robbie Bromley’s set-piece in to the corner.
A point would have seen the Blues go in to the final day in contention for a top five finish but they were dealt a cruel blow deep in to stoppage time.
Lee Pugh’s long throw caused panic in the Clitheroe defence and Michael Morrison punished their failure to clear with a rasping drive past Chris Thompson.
“It’s cruel, disappointing, we’ve just come up short in all competitions this year which will be a big learning curve for the lads,” said Haworth. “I’m more disappointed because I thought we were much the better team because we played all the football.
“But when the dust settles we’ll realise how well we’ve done. Crowds are up 35%, we’ve competed on three fronts for long periods so when that settles down I’m sure we’ll be pleased. Right now it hurts.”
The Blues need plenty to go in their favour if they are to extend their season with Trafford, Glossop North End and Saturday’s opponents Brighouse Town all sandwiched in-between themselves and fifth place Scarborough Athletic.
Looking past the disappointment, Haworth said: “I think this is just the start. Hopefully, even if they go on to other things individually, they’ll have learnt an awful lot because we’ve given them a platform to play.
“They’ve played, they’ve learnt, lost in two semi-finals and a ‘do or die’ game at the end of the season.
“They’ve gone really close but just not had that little bit of luck in any of them. They’ll learn massively from it.
“We’ve played to our maximum potential for large parts of the season to get up there. I don’t think anyone, even within our own club, expected us to be doing what we’re doing.
“So for us to have done that it’s a huge achievement for everybody.
“In a month’s time we’ll reflect on what was a really good effort from everybody.
“We’ve entertained, scored goals, played well and gone toe-to-toe with a lot of ambitious, high budget teams.
“I would imagine a lot of them will want to come back and be part of it.
“We’ll play Brighouse, we’ll have our presentation and then I’ll try and speak to the lads in the coming weeks about coming back and going again.”