Hazeldine Brace Stuns United
Clitheroe 2 Skelmersdale United 1
By Simon Driscoll
After the midweek defeat at Droylsden, United continued on their travels with a trip to Clitheroe which saw a stunning 90 minutes end with a 2-1 loss. Oliver Van Veen fired United in front inside seven minutes before a leveller on 16 minutes and last-gasp wonder strike from ex-United forward Max Hazeldine gave the hosts all three points.
Dave Powell included Louis Keegan in place of the suspended Phil Mooney with Tom Molyneux taking the captaincy while Alex Griffiths started in placed of Dane McCormick who moved to the bench.
A rapid start from the hosts saw Max Hazeldine waste no time in testing the United backline as he forced a strong save from Terry Smith inside the opening minute. United struck the opening goal on seven minutes. a lofted ball from Tom Molyneux found the path of Alex Griffiths who beat the offside trap and advanced on goal before picking out Oliver Van Veen, the forward's initial shot was blocked by 'keeper Cameron Terry who was helpless to keep out the rebound as Van Veen fired in for 1-0.
Clitheroe came close to levelling with Josh Gregory heading over the bar from from a Lewis Sugden free-kick before a run and shot from Jacob Gregory went past the near post. The hosts drew level on 16 minutes as Hazeldine collected a lofted pass to race down the wing before cutting inside to slot past Smith for 1-1.
United could have fallen behind within two minutes, Jacob Gregory rounded Smith and picked out Hazeldine who was denied his brace by Charles Duke's superb goal-line clearance. Henry Limpitshi-Bongwanga drew a low stop from Smith before an acrobatic save from Terry kept out Will Dunne's free-kick and at the other end, Sugden's long range free-kick forced Smith to tip the effort past the post.
A clever play from United just needed a final product minutes later, Leon Arnasalam found Griffiths who swept over a cross for Dunne to knock down but the ball only found a home defender. Clitheroe continued to allow Dunne to threaten from free-kicks with a lofted pass finding the head of Ishmael Banks who flicked into the arms of Terry.
A mazy run from Josh Gregory saw him zig-zag through the United defence before Smith denied him a shot at goal but Clitheroe continued to threaten and minutes later a through ball from Hazeldine saw Limpitshi-Bongwanga fire over the bar.
The first chance of the second half came on 49 minutes as Stephen Rigby raced towards goal and forced a point-blank save from Smith before a long range Duke free-kick saw Terry save comfortably. After a run down the middle, Josh Gregory fired an effort of the bar for the hosts before Arnasalam's curled effort was collected by Terry.
Griffiths swept an angled shot over the bar for United before a turn and shot from Luke Duffy forced a superb diving save from Terry. At the other end, Jacob Gregory stung the fingertips of Smith while Josh Gregory had the ball in the net on 71 minutes only to see his goal chalked off due to offside.
A rapid attack from the hosts saw Hazeldine in open space but as he mounted the journey towards goal, Smith raced out to quell the danger. Van Veen headed into the arms of Terry before Sugden sent a shot over the target at the other end as the game entered the final ten minutes.
United were unfortunate not to regain the lead as substitute Sean Yeldrem collected Van Veen's through pass and hit towards goal with Terry seemingly beaten but a rapid run back to his line saw him save just in time. A nightmare final few minutes for United saw Ishmael Banks dismissed for a second bookable offence before Clitheroe sealed the win.
A superb block on the line from substitute James O'Hara denied Derek Ubah but United could do nothing to deny a stunning winner from Hazeldine as he collected the rebound and fired into the top corner for 2-1. Mass celebrations for the hosts which were amplified minutes later at the final whistle which saw United yet again losing out when a point would have been deserved.
Clitheroe - Terry, Jacob Gregory (c), Rigby, Ubah, Snowdon, Sugden (Cannon-Noren 86), Recizac, Bianga (Tanner 59), Limpitshi-Bongwanga (Harewood 46), Hazeldine, Josh Gregory. Subs not used- Cella, Steele.
Skelmersdale United - Smith, Duke, Fleming, Molyneux (c), Banks, Keegan, Griffiths, Dunne, Van Veen, Duffy (McCormick 74), Arnasalam ((Yeldrem 80) O'Hara 89). Subs not used- Robinson, McLoughlin.