Wasteful Blues are made to pay the price
Clitheroe gave a good account of themselves at Prescot Cables on Saturday, but were left to rue a number of squandered opportunities.
Clitheroe were by far the brighter in the first half against a very experienced home side.
On seven minutes, the returning Jay Jeffries burst from deep and slipped through Jacob Gregory, whose low scudding cross was begging to be converted.
Five minutes later, good work from Max Hazeldine saw Hyuga Tanner have a snap shot which shaved the post.
Then Josh Gregory had a massive chance as he advanced unchallenged, but shot weakly straight at the keeper with the goal gaping.
Macauley Harewood was also in on the action, bursting forward, and all Clitheroe were short of was a goal.
On 22 minutes, Hazeldine hobbled off injured, and soon afterwards Prescot had their only chance of the half as they advanced down the right and the ball was crossed into a melee of bodies.
Ultimately, the ball was cleared off the line, but with more than a suspicion of handball.
However, it served to spark Clitheroe as the Blues then won a free kick on the apex of the box.
A small wall was formed, but Lewis Sugden had little problem bending the ball low round the wall into the goal to open the scoring.
Substitute James Sloane was next on the attack and it took the keeper racing out to deny him.
Clitheroe almost had the perfect start to the second half as Sloane ran towards goal, shepherded by a defender, who just got a tackle in before he shot.
However, that was one of few highpoints for the Blues where the home side had the bulk of play, albeit not many chances.
Those they made, they tended to score.
On 52 minutes, Clitheroe could not clear a cross from the right, and at the third attempt Prescot scored through Matthew Hamilton.
Two minutes later, in a moment of madness, Jeffries dropped a player in the box when he was running away from goal, virtually on the bye line.
The penalty was converted by Chris Almond, the first of his hat-trick.
Clitheroe weathered the storm, and there was always a sense they could grab an equaliser.
On 84 minutes, Jacob Gregory almost obliged as he meandered into the box and forced a great save as he cut in along the bye line.
However, it was Prescot who were next on the score sheet, as, from a left footed corner from the right, Almond eluded the Clitheroe defence and scored with an excellent diving header.
An unwarranted gloss was then put on the victory when Cameron Terry spilled a shot from distance, and the rebound was poked home by Almond.
Clitheroe are clearly competitive at this level but, while seventh top-scorers in the league, will need to be more ruthless in front of goal if they are to prosper and to get their just rewards.
CLITHEROE: Cameron Terry, Macauley Harewood, Jay Jefferies, Derek Ubah, Josh Snowden, Lewis Sugden, Harry Cannon-Noren (Ryan Steele), Hyuga Tanner, Jacob Gregory (c), Max Hazeldine (James Sloane), Josh Gregory (Andreas Bianga).
Subs not used - Antoine Recizac, Viktor Cella.