Win remains elusive, but Clitheroe earn draw

Jacob Gregory goes for goal from a free kick
Jacob Gregory goes for goal from a free kick
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Lee Ashforth was proud of the way his players saw through the darkness to deliver a performance against Colwyn Bay in the Evo-Stik West Division.

The Blues have been plagued by injury, with the list of walking wounded ever-growing, and Ashforth was forced to put square pegs in round holes for the trip to Llanelian Road.

The Clitheroe boss conceded that he was fearing the worst when the home side took the lead after just five minutes but they showed character to battle back for a point.

“We played really well,” he said. “We got the ball down and passed it, we kept a lot of possession.

“In the first 20 minutes I thought that Colwyn Bay were outstanding and I feared the worst but after that we got the ball down and I thought we dominated possession.

“There weren’t many chances in the game but I felt that we were on top and we could have won the game. You take a point down here, especially with the position that we’re in.”

With a number of players operating out of position the visitors went a goal down when Thomas McGready’s set-piece from 25 yards out crashed in off the underside of the crossbar, with goalkeeper Cameron Terry unsighted by the glare of the sun.

However, heads did not drop and with Jay Jeffries relishing his central midfield role it was he who went closest on 15 minutes as he bulldozed 40 yards down the pitch before forcing a smart save from Andy Coughlin.

With Jeffries limping off before half time, Harry Cannon-Noren took up an unfamiliar right back position and he was left floundering on 50 minutes as a forward burst past him and shot into the side netting.

“When JJ got injured we said to Mike Wilson can you drop in to midfield,” said Ashforth. “He hadn’t played there since he was a kid but he said that he’d do a job.

“We’ve got five central midfielders injured. It’s ridiculous. We’ve just been so unlucky in that position.”

Clitheroe equalised in the 67th minute when Max Hazeldine stormed down the right hand side and crossed for substitute Harry Blackburn to convert at the second attempt, poking the ball home after Coughlin had saved his initial volley.

“Harry Blackburn was left out - I had a chat with with him beforehand and explained the reasons why and he showed an absolutely great attitude,” Ashforth said.

“He understood the reasons why and never batted an eyelid. He then came on and got the equaliser. We have got a good squad.

“It’s times like this when you’re squad pulls together and we came here and got a point. They put a shift in.”

He added: “Our oldest player on the pitch was 22/23 and they’re learning all the time.

“Myself and Dave Mannix spoke and said if we had this team in three years, when they’re all 24/25, with their experience I think we’d have an exceptional side.

“Anne [Barker] has been brilliant and supported us right through this bad patch that we’re on and we’re starting to get the rewards a little bit. I said it was a big month with the games that we’ve got.”

Team : Cameron Terry, Michael Wilson, Jack Fleming, Josh Snowden, Oliver Muir, Jay Jeffries (Harry Cannon-Noren (James Sloane), Jacob Gregory (c), Jordyn Fitton, George West (Harry Blackburn), Andreas Bianga, Max Hazeldine. Subs - Harry Cannon-Noren, Harry Blackburn, James Sloane. Not used - Hyuga Tanner, Michael Roddy.