Successful pre-season concludes with a victory
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.
Scott Allison must have felt it wasn’t going to be his day when three earlier attempts at goal were in vain. He then popped up to score a deserved winner in the 87th minute as Reds completed a successful pre-season campaign.
His first effort was comfortably saved by Clitheroe ‘keeper, Dan Eccles but the other two attempts were high, wide and not very handsome.
But persistence and patience were rewarded, just when it looked like a goalless draw would be the outcome.
Without a goal since the friendly at Whitehaven, Allison reacted to Nathan Waterson’s knock-down to and finish confidently from twelve yards.
It was a good all round performance against a team expected to do well in Evo-Stik First Division North this term. They were solid at the back, competitive in midfield and creative going forward but, most pleasing of all, was maintaining a hold on the game despite the constant tweaking of personnel.
Clitheroe threatened to open the scoring when Sefton Gonzales broke through and released co-striker Kurt Willoughby. But superb defending from Jamie Mellen blocked the latter’s shot, although the Reds’ defender appeared to be limping thereafter.
Mellen then started a promising counter attack involving Jack Ryan and Rob Wilson which culminated in a Nathan Waterston shot saved by goalkeeper Dan Eccles’ legs.
Clitheroe’s next attack saw Oliver Crankshaw race clear only for a promising situation to peter out when he dragged his shot wide.
Matty Douglas was next to try his luck in an attacking situation but his firm header, via Anthony Wright’s cross, rebounded off the post with Eccles beaten. Wilson’s goal-bound volley was then blocked by Clitheroe defender, Luke Holden.
And on the stroke of half time, Wilson floated a free kick into the area but Wright’s header didn’t have the power to trouble Eccles.
Willoughby tested Taylor with a long range effort on the hour but the ‘keeper finger-tipped the ball over the bar at the expense of a corner.
Eccles remained the busier of the two ‘keepers and was called upon to keep out a fiercely struck Dav Symington free kick. From the subsequent corner, Reds seemed certain to score but Ryan’s effort hit the post and Eccles smothered the ball on the goal line in the scramble which followed.
Eccles then had a lucky escape when his poor clearance fell straight to Ryan’s feet. The Reds centre forward attempted to chip the ball into the net but the keeper, well outside his area, handled. As seems to be the norm in pre-season action, the referee showed leniency by not punishing Eccles and Symington was just wide with the resultant free kick.
Even after Allison’s late strike, there was still time for Clitheroe to mount one last attack which resulted in Gonzales getting on the end of Robbie Bromley’s free kick only to head wide at the far post.
Joint manager, David Hewson, said afterwards that he was delighted with the performance and the work that the squad had put in throughout pre-season.
“Lee and I are pleased with the commitment shown over the last few weeks and we go into the new season looking fit, sharp and hungry.”
The victory extended Reds winning sequence at Shawbridge and takes them into the season proper with confidence high.
Clitheroe Eccles, Bromley, Atherton (Cattermole, 86), Ellison, Holden, Roddy (Tserpes, 82), Mitchell (Davis, 71), Carroll, Gonzales, Willoughby (Kirby, 80), Crankshaw (Russell, 71).
Workington Taylor, Simpson (Holliday, 57), Mellen, Calvert, Douglas, Earl (Waterston, 19), Symington, Wilson (MacDonald, 51), Ryan (Harker, 76), Allison, Wright. Substitute – Joel (not used).
Referee Andy Sykes, Blackpool