Match Reports 2005-06

Sat 20/08/05
- Clitheroe 2 Brigg Town 2 (UniBond League) Att 238
The Blues opened the new campaign with a draw against a team that drew 19 matches last season. The visitors took a very early lead when a loose ball was fired home from close range after 2 minutes. Clitheroe equalised after 21 minutes when Paul Stansfield waltzed his way into the 6yard box and pulled the ball back for Mike Wolstenholme to slot home. They took the lead on 28 minutes when a glorious ball forward by right back Ian Kearney was superbly controlled by Tony Evans and then volleyed home from 15 yards to give the Blues a 2-1 half time lead. Both sides created further chances after the break but Brigg who scored next with a fortunate goal after 64 minutes. A very high ball into the box looked to be going out at the far post and keeper Peter Collinge back-pedalled to cover it, only for the ball to strike the post and bounce back across the area to be slammed home from close range. A draw was a fair result for a new team against a competent Brigg team.

Team : Collinge, Kearney (White), Hardwick, Clarke, Nestor, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Wolstenholme (Jackson), Johnson (Parr). Subs : Parr, Jackson, White.

Tue 23/08/05
- Fleetwood Town 4 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 321
The Blues were comprehensively beaten by last season's NWCFL champions who opened the scoring after just 19 seconds. The lead was doubled after 8 minutes when a Clitheroe attack quickly turned into a Fleetwood counter-attack and Ian Stevens netted his second goal. A strong wind didn't help and it was the stroke of halftime before the home keeper was tested by a low shot from Tony Evans. Clitheroe enjoyed more of the play in the second half but could not find a way past a well organised defence. Fleetwood coasted through the game and increased the lead after 66 minutes with a thumping far post header from a corner. Worse was to come on 85 minutes when their left back ran through acres of space down the left before drilling the ball home across keeper Peter Collinge. The only real bright spot was a good performance down the left wing by sub Sean White.

Team : Collinge, Kearney, Johnson (White), Clarke, Nestor, Stansfield (Jackson), Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Wolstenholme, Hardwick (Parr). Subs : Parr, Jackson, White.

Sat 27/08/05
- Harrogate Railway 1 Clitheroe 2 (FA Cup) Att 138
The Blues won through to the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round with this victory in front of a sparse crowd. Harrogate took a 5th minute lead when a ball over our midfield left their forward clear in space and he lobbed keeper Peter Collinge from 20 yards. Clitheroe levelled after 18 minutes when Tony Evans nodded the ball down to Neil Reynolds and his first time ball over the home defence left Gary Jackson in a race against the onrushing Harrogate keeper. The ball fell kindly for Jacko in a near-collision and he recovered to slot the ball into the empty net from 15 yards. The Blues created chances in the second half without really testing their keeper and after a close call at the other end with 15 minutes to go, Tommy Lawson changed the shape of the team. This paid dividends in the 83rd minute when Craig Sargeson created space to whip in a left-footed inswinger from the right and Gary Jackson nipped in front of the keeper to head home from close range.

Team : Collinge, Clarke, Hardwick, Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Jackson, Gidlow (White). Subs : White (not used - Nestor, Clare, Pickup, Tinker)

Mon 29/08/05
- Clitheroe 2 Spalding United 1 (UniBond League) Att 211
The Blues totally dominated this game and the scoreline could easily have been more comprehensive. Shawbridge welcomed Simon Garner back to the club and he played a part in the first goal after 16 minutes. Neil Reynolds played a good ball forward to him and his excellent pass released Gary Jackson in on goal and he made no mistake from 15 yards. A couple of freekicks around the edge of the box were placed over the Spalding bar while at the other end keeper Peter Collinge was having a quiet afternoon. The second half was even more one way traffic as plenty of chances were created and three were cleared of the line. The second goal finally came after 66 minutes when Paul Stansfield raced into the box and finished with a low shot across the keeper. Spalding missed an open goal but the same player later made amends on 79 minutes with a good finish as they surprisingly came into the game at last, to reduce the final score to 2-1.

Team : Collinge, Clarke, Hardwick, Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Jackson (Dunning), Garner. Subs : Dunning (not used - Nestor, White)

Sat 03/09/05
- Clitheroe 4 Bishop Auckland 1 (UniBond League) Att 173
Clitheroe came from behind with some terrific goals to beat a strong visiting team who dominated the first 20 minutes. Their early impressive play led to them taking the lead after 13 minutes with a close range header and a tough encounter was in prospect. The Blues battled for each ball and equalised after 34 minutes when a cross-cum-flighted shot from Craig Sargeson deceived the keeper who fumbled the ball over the line to leave the halftime score level. Clitheroe continued to battle after the break and a fine ball from Paul Stansfield released Gary Jackson who drove into the box before crossing for Tony Evans to score with a diving header on 68 minutes. The lead was increased after 73 minutes when Simon Garner laid the ball off for Neil Reynolds to fire home a screamer from 25 yards. Bishop Auckland continued to look for a way back but were exposed on 78 minutes when Craig Sargeson picked up a clearance in his own half and raced clear on goal before firing home past the advancing keeper to cap a great Blues fight back.

Team : Collinge, Clarke (Nestor), Hardwick (White), Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans (Clegg), Jackson, Garner. Subs : Clegg, Nestor, White.

Sat 10/09/05
- AFC Goole 5 Clitheroe 3 (FA Cup) Att 207
The Blues slumped out of the FA Cup in contentious circumstances after the referee dismissed Ryan Parr after 30 minutes and then frustrated everyone with his lack of consistency and decisions which seemingly depended on the colour of a player's shirt. Clitheroe were given a dream start when Gary Jackson fired home a loose ball after just 3 minutes. A mix-up in the Blues defence led to Goole equalising at 21 minutes before the ref took centre stage on 30 minutes. He saw a slight tug by Ryan Parr but the dramatic fall to earth by the Goole player made his decision to award a penalty and send him off (as last man) harsh, but according to the rule book he had no other option. From that moment on he failed to be fair and consistent and Clitheroe's 10 men were battling 12 of Goole..or so it seemed. Goole scored from the spotkick and took a 2-1 interval lead. The match had a bizarre spell where 5 goals were scored in 13 minutes - Goole went 3-1 up after 53 minutes, Craig Sargeson laid on Gary Jackson's second after 55 minutes, Goole went 4-2 up after 63 minutes, Paul Stansfield scored after 64 minutes and Goole scored their 5th after 66 minutes. There were times when you forgot Clitheroe only had 10 men and they battled right to the final whistle. This was a match they could easily have won and with 11 players they probably would have. The referee might have had other ideas though.

Team : Collinge, Clarke, Hardwick (Birchall), Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson (Roberts), Reynolds, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs : Birchall, Roberts (not used - Nestor, White, Pickup).

Tue 13/09/05
- Clitheroe 4 Ossett Albion 2 (UniBond League) Att 160
Clitheroe played some of their best football yet to once again fight back from going an early goal down and winning convincingly. The visitors took the lead after just 2 minutes when a corner was headed home from in front of keeper Peter Collinge. The Blues created many chances before Paul Stansfield equalised after 23 minutes when he somehow forced the ball over the line following a deep low cross from Gary Jackson. Clitheroe took the lead after 34 minutes when Gary Jackson was released on a run into the box and his fierce shot fizzed into the net. Ossett squared the interval scoreline with a 45th minute equaliser, again forcing the ball home from close range. The second half was completely dominated by the rampant Blues and terrific play from everyone created chance after chance. It was fitting that the resurgent Craig Sargeson scored the third goal after 52 minutes when he drilled home across the Ossett keeper. His move out to wide right surprised many fans but manager Tommy Lawson has rejuvenated him and is being rewarded with some outstanding play. The game was wrapped up after 82 minutes when Gary Jackson again broke into the box and fired home another stunning low shot. There is still some work to be done at the back but this is a much more attack-minded Clitheroe team who look likely to score with each attack.

Team : Collinge, Clarke (Birchall), Hardwick (Roberts), Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs : Birchall, Roberts (not used - Nestor).

Sat 17/09/05
- Gresley Rovers 3 Clitheroe 1 (UniBond League) Att 260
The Blues are still struggling to take their home form on their travels and again fell behind to early goals - this time in each half. Gresley scored in the 2nd minute when the ball was headed in from close range and doubled the lead in the 7th minute with another close range effort. The Blues pulled one back in the 28th minute when a superb Ryan Parr long range pass dropped over the Gresley rightback's head and was controlled by Craig Sargeson, who skipped around a couple of challenges before unleashing a terrific left footed drive from 20 yards into the top corner. Gresley looked the more likely to score as their defence held firm to deny Clitheroe further chances. A couple of interval substitutions saw a different Blues back four but it only took 3 minutes before they too were breached. A poor pass in midfield was intercepted, the ball played forward and quickly slammed home. Gresley controlled the rest of the match and although Clitheroe had the ball in some good positions they couldn't make the final delivery that counted. Strikers Gary Jackson and Tony Evans in particular were well marshalled all afternoon and will not have many harder matches than this.

Team : Collinge, Clarke (Nestor), Hardwick (Roberts), Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds (Birchall), Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs : Birchall, Roberts, Nestor.

Tue 20/09/05
- Kendal Town 1 Clitheroe 4 (UniBond League) Att 199
The Blues finally put in an away performance to match the home form and soundly beat a fancied Kendal Town side. New keeper Andy Paxton replaced young Peter Collinge in goals after serving his suspension and manager Tommy Lawson put out a 4-5-1 formation with Tony Evans the lone front man with Gary Jackson and Craig Sargeson wide on the flanks. Tony Evans did a huge amount of running throughout the game and repeatedly created space that both Sarge and especially Jacko thrived on. Clitheroe had a 2nd minute penalty appeal turned down but took the lead after just 8 minutes when Neil Reynolds found Craig Sargeson close to the left touchline, who then skipped around several challenges as he threaded his way into the box and fired home from 8 yards. Both sides created chances and it was Kendal who equalised on 25 minutes when keeper Andy Paxton dived well to save a long range shot but Lee Ashcroft had followed in and forced the loose ball home. Halftime was reached with plenty of action but no more goals. The second half was to match the Blues convincing performance in the recent home win over Ossett Albion and they completely dominated and overran the home side. Tony Evans was making acres of space down the right that Gary Jackson took full advantage of. In the 51st minute he was released by another excellent ball from Ryan Parr and caught the ball just before the byeline before centreing superbly for Craig Sargeson to smash home at the back post. Gary Jackson's speed and strength were causing all sorts of problems for the Kendal defence and he grabbed a couple of goals himself in the 64th and 75th minutes to cap a fine display in an unusual position. What seemed a strange formation at kickoff ultimately had the desired effect and all the players played their part in a fantastic away victory. Roll on Kidsgrove!

Team : Paxton, Clarke, Hardwick, Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs not used : Birchall, Roberts, Nestor.

Sat 24/09/05
- Kidsgrove Athletic 5 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 151
The Blues were given a lesson in committed physical football on a very bobbly pitch that caused many individual errors. Craig Sargeson was not fully fit and took a place on the bench while Chris Nestor replaced the suspended Ryan Parr at the centre of defence. Simon Garner played the wide left role and Adam Birchall took his place in centre midfield. The first half was evenly matched with neither goalkeeper really being troubled and a tough battle taking place in the middle of the park. A goalless first half looked likely until Clitheroe conceded a freekick 10 yards inside their own half in the 45th minute. The ball was launched into the box, over an unmarked Darren Twigg and headed home low down through a crowded goalmouth. The second half also started off even but once Kidsgrove scored their second with a close range knock-in in the 53rd minute the balance was well and truly tilted in their favour. Their giant number 9 Matt Rhead robbed Tom Hardwick in the 59th minute and ran 45 yards to slot home. He grabbed his second in the 61st minute when he rose to head a high bouncing ball in midfield and his speculative effort from 30 yards sailed over the stranded Blues keeper Andy Paxton. By now Clitheroe were clearly second best and only threatened the Kidsgrove goal when Gary Jackson was moved up front alongside Tony Evans but each attack was broken down before a clear shot could be made. Kidsgrove wrapped the game up in the 87th minute when their number 9 stole in and rounded the keeper and from a narrow angle managed to get a shot on target. It was cleared off the line at the back post but was hit straight against the Clitheroe keeper who was coming back from his wide position and rebounded into the net for an obvious own goal - though Matt Rhead claimed it to complete his hattrick. Another potentially physical match is in store when league leaders Fleetwood Town come to Shawbridge on Tuesday and this will may well have been a good example of what the young players can expect.

Team : Paxton, Clarke, Hardwick (Roberts), Nestor (C.Clark), Kearney, Stansfield, Birchall, Reynolds, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Sub not used : Sargeson.

Tue 27/09/05
- Clitheroe 1 Fleetwood Town 0 (UniBond League) Att 311
The Blues rose superbly to the challenge of avenging the recent 4-0 away defeat to the unbeaten league leaders as a very late Jacko stunner deservedly gave them the three points. Injuries to Craig Sargeson, Tony Evans and Chris Nestor saw another 90 minutes for Adam Birchall, an excellent debut for local lad Alan Coar and a return for Ryan Parr after suspension. Ian Kearney was recalled by the injury-hit Southport so Russ Clarke moved to centrehalf and Chris Clark made his debut at right back. The Fleetwood keeper made two fine saves early on from Alan Coar to keep the rampaging Blues out while poor finishing at the other end gave Clitheroe their first clean sheet at half time this season. An early second half dismissal for 2 fouls saw Fleetwood reduced to 10 men and for once the Blues were able to make the extra man count. They continued to surge forward and looked the team more likely to break the deadlock but the visiting keeper Andy Banks continued to thwart them with his clean handling from a succession of corners. Russ Clarke pounced on a loose ball in a crowded goalmouth following a setpiece but ballooned his shot over the bar. The match was set up for an exciting last 10 minutes when Neil Reynolds set up Paul Stansfield for a 20 yard strike but his thunderous shot cannoned back off the underside of the bar and was cleared to safety. The Blues defence withstood anything the visitors threw at them and a harsh decision on 85 minutes looked like spoiling all of their hard work. A cross played into the box struck Ryan Parr on the arm and the ref bizarrely pointed to the spot. Justice seemed to have been done when Andy Paxton saved the spotkick and the rebound was blocked and then cleared. However, the linesman signalled that the Blues keeper had moved too early and the ref ordered the penalty to be retaken, only for the same penalty-taker to send the ball high over the bar and out of the ground. An unlikely defeat was avoided and an entertaining goalless draw looked the likely outcome but in the 89th minute the ball was played up to Gary Jackson 30 yards from goal. He controlled the ball, turned and found a yard of space to unleash a terrific blast into the top left hand corner beyond the otherwise unbeatable Fleetwood keeper. There were scenes of great joy on the pitch and terraces as the final whistle went and the league leaders, and great rivals, had finally been beaten this season.

Team : Paxton, C.Clark, Hardwick, Parr, R.Clarke, Stansfield, Birchall, Reynolds, Coar, Jackson, Garner. Subs not used : Roberts, Gidlow, Johnson.

Sat 01/10/05
- Bridlington Town 1 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 145
The Blues' awayday blues returned and they fell to a disappointing defeat at the hands of a very ordinary side on a pitch they should have thrived on. Tony Evans returned after injury otherwise the squad was the same that had beaten Fleetwood so convincingly on Tuesday. Bridlington were given the opportunity to join the teams that have scored very early goals against us when a theatrical dive in the box earned them a spotkick decision from the linesman. The locals predicted the ball was going over the bar but instead it was aimed low and Clitheroe keeper Andy Paxton saved superbly at the foot of the post. That was to be the only real attempt on either goal in a dismal first half and it was no surprise that the first half ended goalless. Hopes were high for an improved performance after the break but it was not forthcoming. Bridlington took the lead on 62 minutes when a freekick on the right was floated in and a glancing header found its way in at an unprotected near post. The Blues applied pressure but the home defence coped easily with anything aimed into the box. Alan Coar was introduced up front, with Gary Jackson taking a wider position on the right replacing Adam Birchall, but still no way could be found through the Bridlington back line. Neither team managed to force any other action from the goalkeepers and the final whistle went enabling us to ponder on the contrast with the Fleetwood victory on our long journey home. Tommy's side is coming together nicely but the consistency from match to match just needs tweaking further, especially away from Shawbridge.

Team : Paxton, C.Clark, Hardwick, Parr, R.Clarke, Stansfield, Birchall (Coar), Reynolds, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs not used : Roberts, Johnson.

Tue 04/10/05
- Clitheroe 3 Woodley Sports 2 (UniBond League) Att 282
The Blues needed a last gasp goal from sub Owen Roberts to take the points against a very decent Woodley Sports side who deserved at least a share of the spoils. They gave one of the best attacking displays from 10 men I've ever seen while protecting 'goalie' Greg Brickell at the other end. Ian Kearney and Craig Sargeson returned to the starting line up with Simon Garner replacing Tom Hardwick at left back. The visitors made a very lively start and took the lead after 10 minutes when a vicious shot was parried by Blues keeper Andy Paxton and the rebound was fired home. The equaliser came from the penalty spot after 31 minutes after a deliberate handball in the area. Craig Sargeson's spot kick was saved but the keeper was judged to have moved from his line and Simon Garner fired home the retaken penalty. The keeper was sent off after 38 minutes when he tumbled Adam Birchall to the ground and Simon Garner slammed home his second penalty, this time past stand-in keeper Brickell. Further chances fell to Craig Sargeson and Gary Jackson but the half ended 2-1 to the Blues. After the break Woodley's 10 men played superbly and they caused Clitheroe many problems. The ref awarded them a fortunate penalty decision after 51 minutes and they duly equalised from the spot. They continued to dominate the game and only poor finishing kept the scores level, while the Blues struggled to get behind their defence and test the stand-in keeper. Woodley resorted to fouling at times to stem the attacks and Clitheroe were awarded a 90th minute freekick just outside the box. It was the perfect spot for leftsided player Owen Roberts to bend low round the wall into the net with Brickell rooted to the goalline. Woodley were shattered while the Blues terrific home record goes on to be tested by new league leaders Mossley on Saturday.

Team : Paxton, R.Clarke, Garner (Roberts), Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Birchall (C.Clark), Reynolds, Evans, Jackson, Sargeson. Sub not used : Johnson.

Sat 08/10/05
- Clitheroe 3 Mossley 2 (UniBond League) Att 323
The Blues survived a late rally from league leaders Mossley to record a fine home victory. Tom Hardwick returned after a bout of flu and Adam Birchall took a place on the bench. The visitors maybe shaded the opening 30 minutes without really threatening and it was Clitheroe who took the lead on 35 minutes when Craig Sargeson stretched his leg and got his toe on the end of a low cross to prod home into the bottom corner. Clitheroe held on to this narrow lead until half time. The lead was doubled after 48 minutes when Gary Jackson latched on to a ball forward, got round his marker and played the ball across for Tony Evans to fire home. The Blues were now well on top and Gary Jackson made the game safe when he lifted the ball over the advancing Mossley keeper after 62 minutes. Mossley finally began to make an impression on the game and pulled one back after 68 minutes with a well taken goal from sub Jordan Goodeve. The same player snatched a second after 82 minutes to set up a tense final few minutes in which the Blues did well to thwart a determined Mossley fight back. This was a big victory against another table topping team and hopefully the Blues can now take this winning mentality on to some local away Tuesday night fixtures.

Team : Paxton, R.Clarke, Hardwick, Parr (Melling), Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs not used : Birchall, Roberts.

Tue 11/10/05
- Bamber Bridge 2 Clitheroe 2 (UniBond League) Att 237
Clitheroe turned around a poor first half performance to fight back from 2 goals down and gain an unlikely draw in torrential rain at Irongate. Bamber Bridge were gifted the lead after 10 minutes when keeper Andy Paxton needlessly rushed out of the area to reach a ball forward that Ryan Parr was favourite to reach and clear. Instead he was felled by the sliding keeper and the loose ball was gathered by Brig's dangerous forward Bennett and driven home from 20 yards. They doubled their lead in the 12th minute when a bouncing ball in the box was firmly slammed home by Bennett again. Clitheroe were second best and the half was summed up when Gary Jackson missed a sitter right on the halftime whistle. George Melling and Adam Birchall replaced Russ Clarke and Simon Garner for the second half and the Blues started much brighter. Gary Jackson was very unlucky with a couple of early chances - one which produced a fine save from the Brig keeper but a goalkick rather than a corner was awarded. In the 57th minute Gary Jackson produced an electrifying run that took him into the home penalty area and his fierce shot was parried into the path of Tony Evans who made no mistake from 6 yards. Andy Paxton made a vital save to keep Bamber Bridge out and as fulltime approached he made his way into the Brig box after the Blues were awarded a freekick. The last gasp effort produced a result as the referee spotted a handball as the ball arrived in the box and awarded a penalty. Sub Owen Roberts calmly placed the ball on the spot and smashed it home in the 90th minute to send the sizeable away following home more than happy with a point away.

Team : Paxton, R.Clarke (Melling), Hardwick, Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans (Roberts), Jackson, Garner (Birchall).

Sat 15/10/05
- Clitheroe 3 Spalding United 1 (FA Trophy) Att 253
Clitheroe finally overcame a poor Spalding team to record the club's first ever FA Trophy win and increase the bank balance by 1300 in doing so. An evenly matched first half will only be remembered for when Craig Sargeson beat the offside trap on 33 minutes and raced away to put his flicked shot over the keeper only for it to strike the foot of the post. The breakthrough came early in the second half when after 47th minutes a freekick was headed back across goal and fired home by Craig Sargeson from close range. Simon Garner was then given an opportunity to double the lead from a penalty but his spotkick was easily saved by the visiting keeper. However, he made amends in the 75th minute when he crossed for the hardworking Tony Evans to notch his third goal in as many games. Spalding pulled one back in the 81st minute but Gary Jackson settled the tie with a low close-range header after 84 minutes to set up a game in the next round at Premier Division Ossett Town, who beat Stocksbridge Park Steels in their replay on Tuesday night.

Team : Collinge, Kearney, Hardwick, Parr, Melling, Stansfield, Sargeson (C.Clark), Birchall, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs : C.Clark (not used - Reynolds, Roberts).

Tue 18/10/05
- Chorley 1 Clitheroe 2 (UniBond League) Att 205
The Blues played superbly to beat a very good Chorley side and go to the top of the table. Clitheroe a dream start after 9 minutes when Gary Jackson received the ball in the penalty area, turned to make space and his centre looped over the keeper and was slammed home by Tony Evans at the back post. Chorley pressed for an equaliser and the Blues defence will have been pleased to take a clean sheet in at half time. The action from both sides continued after the break and the next goal became very important. Chorley's attacking build-up play tested the Clitheroe defence to the limit but they stood firm and the lead was doubled after 63 minutes when Gary Jackson beat the offside trap and chased the ball deep into the Chorley penalty box. He pulled the ball back superbly for Tony Evans to rifle home from 10 yards. The home side pulled a goal back after 77 minutes following good play down their right wing and Simon Garner's late sending off led to a tense final 2 minutes of play. The defence battled right to the final whistle to secure a great away victory.

Team : Collinge, Kearney, Hardwick, Parr, Melling, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs : (not used - C.Clark, Roberts, Coar).

Sat 22/10/05
- Clitheroe 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 2 (UniBond League) Att 262
Clitheroe had to battle from 2 goals down in the final few minutes to rescue a point in another entertaining game on Shawbridge. Blues keeper Peter Collinge made a superb 3rd minute save to deny the visitors the lead and this was matched by Kidsgrove keeper 'Dabber' stretching backwards to tip a Gary Jackson shot over the bar. Clitheroe finished the half stronger with Gary Jackson having a header saved and a strong Paul Stansfield run into the goal area ending with the ball pulled back just slightly behind and too high for Tony Evans to connect cleanly. The second half was dominated by the Blues and many chances were created without the ball finding its way home. This proved costly when a Kidsgrove breakaway down the right saw the ball played in and superbly volleyed home from the edge of the box and the visitors doubled their lead from a series of free headers following a couple of corners. This is a much different Clitheroe side this season though and they battled back superbly and when Gary Jackson laid the ball off for sub Alan Coar to smash home into the top corner from 20 yards the fightback was on. They went in search of the equaliser and it came soon after when Gary Jackson drove home a terrific left foot shot in a crowded penalty area. There was just time for a Clitheroe corner to be sent over and centre-half George Melling got his head to the ball only to see it agonisingly graze the top of the crossbar and go over.

Team : Collinge, Kearney, Hardwick, Parr, Melling, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, Evans, Jackson, Garner. Subs : Coar (not used - R.Clarke, Reynolds).

Sat 29/10/05
- Belper Town 1 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 174
Clitheroe had the chances to win this match but a combination of slack finishing and superb goalkeeping gave the bottom team the 3 points. The Blues had a couple of early chances but careless passing enabled Belper to break through and open the scoring on 9 minutes. Further chances were created but the home penalty area always seemed to have plenty of defending players in to limit a clean strike on goal. The second half opened with more urgency in the Blues play and some fluent passing created chances that were again thwarted by the home defence or saved smartly by their keeper. Belper doubled their lead in the 72nd minute when a corner wasn't cleared and the loose ball was forced home from close range. Clitheroe's best effort came when Ian Kearney met a corner and his bullet header was well saved and soon after he drove in a low shot that was equally well handled. Substitute Alan Coar was introduced for the final 10 minutes but the home back line remained firm and denied the Blues attack the time or space to make the extra forward count. Generally the play was OK but this was another Saturday away game that was just missing the all-important accurate clean strike on goal.

Team : Collinge, Kearney, Hardwick (Roberts), Parr, Melling, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, Evans, Jackson, C.Clark (Coar). Subs : Coar, Roberts (not used - Reynolds).

Tue 01/11/05
- Clitheroe 4 Woodley Sports 2 (UniBond League Cup) Att 178
Clitheroe survived a late rally from Woodley Sports to record another fine home victory and progress into the next round of the UniBond League Cup. The Blues opened the scoring after just 8 minutes when some neat approach work saw the ball played in from the left by Craig Sargeson for Paul Stansfield to force home from close range. Tony Evans had a shot across the goalie and bound for the top right hand corner superbly pushed away by the visiting keeper but in the 38th minute he gave him no chance with a shot from the edge of the box. Clitheroe remained on top in the second half and increased the lead from the penalty spot after 55 minutes when Tony Evans sent the keeper the wrong way with his spot kick. From being safely 3-0 up and well on top, the Blues were caught out in the 60th by a superb break down the left and an equally fine finish that gave keeper Peter Collinge no chance. Woodley's spell on top brought a second goal after 75 minutes and a tense final quarter of an hour was in store. However, returning winger Chris Whittingham was in the right place at the right time just a minute later and slotted home from the edge of the box after 76 minutes to restore the 2 goal cushion which the Blues held till the final whistle.

Team : Collinge, Kearney, Roberts, Parr, Melling, Stansfield (Birchall), Whittingam (C.Clark), Reynolds, Evans, Jackson (Coar), Sargeson. Subs : Coar, Birchall, C.Clark

Sat 05/11/05
- Clitheroe 0 Stocksbridge Park Steels 1 (UniBond League) Att 261
The Blues missed injured 13 goal striker Gary Jackson but still forced four superb saves from the visiting keeper as they attempted to break down a defence that had only conceded 1 goal in 5 away matches. Stocksbridge took the lead after 19 minutes when the ball was accurately placed over the advancing Clitheroe keeper from the angle of the 18 yard box. Craig Sargeson forced a great save, the resulting corner was firmly headed goalwards but was again tipped over the bar and Tony Evans struck the bar from the edge of the box with a fierce drive. Clitheroe enjoyed territorial advantage in the second half but could not find a way through a disciplined back four whose giant centre-half won everything in the air. Paul Stansfield came closest with a mazy dribble in the box but his well struck close range shot was smartly saved by the keeper at the near post. Stocksbridge were quick to break when they had the ball and but for some woeful finishing could have increased their lead. A goal for the Blues would have been fair reward but instead they lost their unbeaten home record to a team that would go 4th in the league if they win their matches in hand.

Team : Collinge, Holmes, Hardwick (Roberts), Parr, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Coar (Whittingham), Birchall. Subs : Roberts, Whittingham (not used : C.Clark)

Sat 12/11/05
- Ossett Town 2 Clitheroe 2 (FA Trophy) Att 108
The Blues put up a spirited performance on a poor pitch and came away with a replay against the Premier Division team. It was obvious from the kickoff that ball control on a pudding of a pitch was going to be a serious test and the home side quickly closed players down to make it even harder. The ref missed a clear-cut handball before the ball was played across the Blues back line and finished with a rising drive after 13 minutes to give Ossett the lead. Clitheroe equalised after 40 minutes when Paul Stansfield picked up the ball on the edge of the box and somehow managed to control the ball as he edged around a couple of defenders before slotting home. The second half also saw plenty of first-touch action as players struggled to control the ball and the Blues were frequently turned to chase punts over midfield. Ossett struck the post and bar before Clitheroe took the lead in the 78th minute. A Craig Sargeson corner found its way through a mass of players and was firmly headed home by Ian Kearney from 6 yards. Ossett continued to launch the ball forward and they equalised after 84 minutes to earn a replay on Tuesday night.

Team : Collinge, B.Clegg, Hardwick, Howey, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Rogers, Whittingham. Subs (not used) : C.Clark, Coar, Birchall, Fagan, Paxton.

Tue 15/11/05
- Clitheroe 1* Ossett Town 1* (FA Trophy replay) Att 188 *Clitheroe won 4-3 on pens
Clitheroe won a tense penalty shoot-out to proceed to the next round and a game at home against Woodley Sports. Ossett Town showed they could knock the ball around on a decent surface and caused a few scares in front of the Clitheroe goal but it was the Blues who took the lead on 30 minutes. Craig Sargeson was crudely fouled just outside the box but the ref allowed advantage to be played and the ball was laid off nicely for Paul Stansfield to drive home from 18 yards. The second half saw Clitheroe enjoy greater possession but maybe the better chances falling to Ossett who were quick to break away from defence. Brad Clegg was excellent in central defence as he kept their dangerous striker quiet all night but the visitors equalised on 83 minutes with a good angled drive from their right. Simon Garner's last ditch sliding tackle denied them a late winner and took the game into extra time where Ossett only had 10 men due to an injury having already used their 3 subs. No further goals were scored and so the game was to be decided on penalties. Clitheroe had wanted to subsitute keeper Peter Collinge but the ref blew for full time before Andy Paxton was on the pitch. Simon Garner had his first penalty saved, Ossett scored their first three with replies from Paul Stansfield and Craig Sargeson. Ian Kearney slotted his home and Peter Collinge saved the 4th Ossett penalty to level the scores. Tony Evans put the Blues in front and the 5th Ossett penalty struck the outside of the post and went wide to send the Blues through to the 3rd Qualifying Round on Saturday 26th November.

Team : Collinge, Howey, Garner, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Evans, Rogers, Whittingham. Subs : Coar, Birchall (not used) : C.Clark, Hardwick, Paxton.

Tue 22/11/05
- Clitheroe 3 Rossendale United 1 (UC Lancashire Cup) Att 177
Tony Evans was unlucky not to bag a hat-trick as Clitheroe came from behind to beat a Rossendale side given special permission to play recent signings in the competition. The visitors took a 9th minute lead from the penalty spot after the ref spotted an infringement that not one of the Rossendale players appealed for. Their lead was shortlived as a great pass forward from Chris Whittingham gave Paul Rogers the opportunity to fire home the equaliser after 14 minutes. The Blues continued to create chances but had to wait until the 45th minute to take the lead when a Craig Sargeson freekick was headed home by Tony Evans. The second half saw Clitheroe continue to dominate and a superb pass forward after 70 minutes from Simon Garner found Tony Evans down the left wing. He made his way into the penalty area before shooting home across the keeper to put the game beyond Rossendale. Clitheroe will find out their opponents in the next round when the draw is made on Radio Lancashire on Thusday evening.

Team : Collinge, Holmes (Howey), Garner, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield (Reynolds), Sargeson, Birchall, Evans, Rogers, Whittingham (Williams). Subs : Williams, Howey, Reynolds. (not used - Hardwick, Paxton)

Sat 26/11/05
- Clitheroe 2 Woodley Sports 1 (FA Trophy) Att 205
The Blues tucked away a very late chance to make it into the draw for the 1st Round Proper of the FA Trophy when the competition goes nationwide. Woodley took a shock 6th minute lead when a superb curling left footed shot rebounded off the bar and the same player tucked it away with his right foot. Clitheroe created many chances and had more than one good penalty claim turned down by the referee as the visitors held on to their slender lead into the half time break. The Blues continued to create chances in the second half and they equalised on 56 minutes when Paul Stansfield rose unchallenged to head home from 8 yards. Woodley looked dangerous on the break but woeful finishing in front of goal would prove to be very costly for them and on 89 minutes Clitheroe took the lead when Gary Williams chased a long ball forward and expertly stroked it past the on-rushing keeper. The win earned the club another 3000 and Monday's draw will be eagerly anticipated for a possible match against the Conference teams who now enter the competition.

Team : Collinge, Howey, Garner, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, G.Evans (Reynolds), Rogers, C.Clark (Williams). Subs : Williams, Reynolds. (not used - Whittingham, Hardwick, Paxton)

Sat 03/12/05
- Brigg Town 2 Clitheroe 2 (UniBond League) Att 186
Clitheroe came away from old foes Brigg with a hard fought and well deserved point. The Blues were on top in the opening exchanges but fell the customary goal behind in the 13th minute, Brigg firing home a low shot. Paul Stansfield rattled the Brigg crossbar from 25 yards and keeper Peter Collinge made some smart saves to deny the home strikers. Clitheroe equalised on 44 minutes when a loose ball from a corner was poked home from close range by Brad Clegg. The Blues were again on top in the opening minutes of the second half and took the lead after 63 minutes after sub Gary Williams was felled in the penalty area as he skipped past a defender, Paul Stansfield firing home the resulting spotkick. This spurred Brigg into having their best spell and Peter Collinge again made some important saves. Clitheroe continued to create their own chances but it was the home side who scored next with a penalty in the 76th minute, following a similar foul in the box. Both sides looked for the winner but the final score was a fair 2-2 draw.

Team : Collinge, Holmes, Garner, B.Clegg, Hardwick, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, G.Evans, Rogers (Williams), C.Clark. Subs : Williams. (not used - Reynolds, Howey)

Sat 10/12/05
- AFC Goole 1 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 213
Clitheroe recovered from having keeper Peter Collinge sent off early in the first half to dominate the second half and very nearly rescue a point. Goole took the customary lead in the 15th with a well taken goal and then a bizarre refereeing decision saw both teams lose a player. A Goole forward was flagged offside but ran on and thumped the ball past Peter Collinge with his fist. The forward then pushed the keeper in his chest, Peter responded likewise and they swapped a few pantomime pushes before the ref intervened. A yellow card apiece would have been sensible but instead he sent them both off! Simon Garner took his place in goal and he was rarely troubled thereafter. A poor first half was followed by a dominant Clitheroe display after the break but they couldn't find the back of the net. Gary Williams flashed a couple of shots into the side netting and Craig Sargeson struck the top of the bar with a freekick from the edge of the box. Goole packed the goal area towards the final whistle and did enough to thwart the Blues and hang on for their narrow win.

Team : Collinge, Holmes, Garner, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield, Williams, Reynolds, Rogers, Birchall (C.Clark), Williams. Subs : C.Clark. (not used - Hardwick)

Tue 13/12/05
- Clitheroe 3 Kendal Town 4 (UniBond League Cup) Att 163
This was a pulsating cup-tie that kept everyone on the edge of their toes right until the final whistle. Clitheroe raced into an uncustomary lead after just 2 minutes when Paul Stansfield picked up the ball in midfield, moved forward onto goal and fired home a low shot from the edge of the box. The joy was extremely shortlived as Kendal equalised in the 3rd minute, practically straight from the restart! Both sides looked dangerous going forward and a neat move from the visitors saw them take the lead in the 28th minute. The Blues stormed back and an attempted shot from Gary Williams turned into most fluked cross you're likely to see and fell perfectly for Paul Rogers to slam home the equaliser from close range on 37 minutes. Play flowed from end to end and it was Kendal who took a 2-3 halftime lead, scoring their third in the 40th minute. The second half was dominated by Clitheroe as they went in search of another equaliser and their cause was helped when Kendal were reduced to 10 men. Kendal were on the back foot for long spells but continued to threaten on the break and some last ditch tackles often saved the Blues. It was the visitors who were next to score though and they stretched their lead with a fine solo goal in the 83rd minute. Clitheroe refused to give in and scored an instant reply themselves as Gareth Evans poked home from close range in a goalmouth scramble to make the score 3-4. The Blues poured players forward in search for goals and keeper Peter Collinge even ventured into the opposition box for a corner in the dying moments but it was not to be and Kendal ran out winners in a hugely entertaining match.

Team : Collinge, Holmes, Hardwick, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield, C.Clark, Reynolds, G. Evans, Rogers, Williams. Subs : Sargeson. (not used - Garner)

Thu 22/12/05
- Barrow 2 Clitheroe 1 (FA Trophy) Att 897
Clitheroe never gave up against their Conference North hosts and very nearly earned a replay that their commitment deserved. The Blues made a bright start and took a shock 7th minute lead when Tony Evans stabbed the ball home from close range. They continued to have the upper hand and Barrow looked nervy playing in front of their new manager. Barrow took control of the game as the half ended but the defence held firm while Tony Evans flashed a 20 yarder just wide of the post. The opening few minutes of the second half were vital and Barrow equalised on 49 minutes when the ball was knocked in at the far post. This settled the home team and they soon increased the lead after 52 minutes. A needless freekick was conceded just outside the Clitheroe box and the defensive wall was breached by a low shot that keeper Peter Collinge did well to get down to but he was only able to palm it onto the post and it rebounded in. Peter Collinge made some timely saves with his feet as the Blues continued to press and created many chances without really forcing the Barrow keeper to make a save. A series of corners were whipped in by Craig Sargeson but the all important flick came from a Barrow head. Two good chances were met with 'air-shots' and Barrow will count themselves lucky to have withstood a hectic final 10 minutes without conceding an equaliser.

Team : Collinge, Fagan, Hardwick, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, T.Evans, Rogers, Williams. Subs : C.Clark, G.Evans, Reynolds (not used - Garner, Paxton)

Mon 26/12/05
- Bishop Auckland 1 Clitheroe 2 (UniBond League) Att 138
Clitheroe did enough to come away with the vital three points but the margin of victory could easily have been greater. An largely uneventful first half was brought to life after 39 minutes when a superb through ball into the box from Adam Birchall was latched on to by Gary Williams and his powerful shot from 15 yards rose past the home keeper into the top corner. The second half followed a similar pattern until the Blues doubled their lead on 55 minutes. Tony Evans was released into the box on the right hand side and his shot across the keeper was stopped on the line by a sliding defender. The ball rolled agonisingly along the goal line towards the other post and was bundled home by Tony Evans who had followed in his original shot. Bishop Auckland had rarely threatened Clitheroe keeper Andy Paxton and a rare clean sheet was looking very likely. They then had a goal ruled out for offside and a penalty claim turned down before they scored from a spot kick in the 78th minute, awarded by the ref as a Blues defender attempted to clear the ball away from a prone player in the penalty area. Paul Rogers then forced a fine save from their keeper, a Craig Sargeson freekick beat the wall but thundered against the far post and Tony Evans slotted wide as the Blues played out a tense final few minutes to record a long awaited league victory.

Team : Paxton, Holmes, Hardwick, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, T.Evans, Rogers, Williams. (Subs not used : Hughes, Tinker)

Mon 02/01/06
- Clitheroe 0 Chorley 1 (UniBond League) Att 334
Clitheroe dominated this match but a well marshalled Chorley defence kept them out and a solitary goal was enough to win the game. The Blues increasingly took control of the game and in the last 15 minutes of the first half created many chances only to be denied by a string of timely saves from the visting keeper, Paul Rogers being especially unlucky with a superb low shot. The second half brought more pressure on the Chorley defence but it was the visitors who scored first with a fine solo effort after 58 minutes. Clitheroe continued to press forward but a combination of poor final ball and continued superb marshalling from Shaun Teale enabled the Chorley defence to deny Clitheroe any further clear goal scoring opportunites.

Team : Paxton, Holmes, Garner, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, T.Evans (McNally), Rogers, Williams. Subs - McNally. Not used : C.Clark, Hardwick)

Thu 05/01/06
- Burscough 2 Clitheroe 0 (UC Lancashire Cup) Att 120
Clitheroe again dominated a match and created enough chances to have earned the dream tie against Conference leaders Accrington Stanley in the Quarter Final. However, luck in front of goal has deserted the Blues and Burscough converted their rare chances to progress at Clitheroe's expense. The home side were forced to defend for long periods of the first half and there was plenty of goalmouth action without a clear scoring opportunity being presented. A series of superb Simon Garner corners caused panic for the Premier Division opposition but somehow the ball was cleared away each time. Gary Williams flashed a long range shot narrowly over the bar as the Blues ended the first half well on top. Burscough started the second half much stronger and finally began to threaten the Clitheroe defence but gradually the tide turned and it was the Blues who started to dominate again, although the incisive final ball or clinical shot on goal was sadly lacking. After 72 minutes the Blues fell behind when a slack pass 10 yards into the Burscough half was intercepted. The home team quickly pushed the ball forward and ended with a low shot from the right that beat keeper Andy Paxton. Clitheroe continued to press forward and Paul Rogers was unlucky with a run and shot that was well saved and then a header that he saw very late went just the wrong side of the post. Burscough were now happy to run the clock down when they had possession and they were fortunate to double their lead in the 89th minute when a shot was deflected and looped up and over Andy Paxton. This was another game the Blues could so easily have won and a worrying lack of goals is surely to be addressed by manager Tommy Lawson.

Team : Paxton, Holmes, Garner, B.Clegg, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, McNally, Rogers, Williams. Subs (not used) : T.Evans, Hardwick, Fagan

Sat 07/01/06
- Colwyn Bay 4 Clitheroe 2 (UniBond Presidents Cup) Att 302
Clitheroe played their part in an entertaining game and will look to improve when they make a swift return to Colwyn Bay for the league game next Saturday. George Melling made a sooner than expected return to the starting line up following his brief spell at Lancaster City and Tom Hardwick replaced Simon Garner at left back. The first half was even until Colwyn Bay took the lead after 30 minutes when the Blues offside appeal failed and their striker homed in to tuck the ball under keeper Andy Paxton and they doubled the lead 2 minutes later when the ball was lashed home from close range. Clitheroe pulled a goal back after 38 minutes when Paul Stansfield bundled the ball across the line in a goalmouth scramble following a corner. The Blues started the second half looking for the equaliser and were still in the game until the 56th minute when Colwyn Bay broke clear down the right wing and a superb cross was met by an equally fine header that was glanced past Andy Paxton. The Blues fell further behind in the 62nd minute when a poor Andy Paxton clearance was kicked straight to a home striker and he slammed it home to give Bay a 4-1 lead. The keeper later sustained an injury clearing the ball and was replaced in goal by Simon Garner. Defender Ian Kearney forced home a loose ball from a 90th minute corner to make the final scoreline 4-2.

Team : Paxton (Garner), Holmes, Hardwick, Melling, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, McNally, Rogers, Williams. Subs Garner. (not used : Reynolds)

Sat 14/01/06
- Colwyn Bay 0 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 426
Clitheroe made a quick return to North Wales and again featured in an exciting match but this time without any goals. The Blues took the game to their high flying hosts and forced them to defend for long periods. Colwyn Bay were quick to break when they did have the ball and the Blues defence all played their part to keep them out with recalled keeper Peter Collinge having a fine game. John Paul Fagan headed a fierce shot away from under the crossbar while at the other end Paul Rogers had a shot cleared off the line. The home side were awarded a 43rd minute penalty when George Melling was harshly judged to have pulled back a Bay striker close to goal but the resultant spot kick struck the bar and bounced to safety. The second half was a similar story with both sides constantly attacking each other and creating plenty of chances. Peter Collinge made some superb blocks and Tom Hardwick made one particularly impressive and timely last-ditch tackle to thwart the Bay attack. Gary Williams had a few long range strikes saved and Paul Stansfield narrowly missed with an attempted 45 yard lob over their stranded keeper. A superb last minute move saw Adam Birchall released into the box and rather than shoot he chose to pass inside to Paul McNally but his shot was deflected away for a corner. This was an excellent hard earned point for the team and a welcome clean sheet for the defence.

Team : Collinge, Fagan, Hardwick, Melling, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, McNally, Rogers, Williams (Garner). Subs Garner. (not used : Reynolds)

Sat 21/01/06
- Clitheroe 0 Kendal Town 3 (UniBond League) Att 303
Clitheroe entered this game against the league's in-form team without Paul Stansfield who was unavoidably absent and captain Ian Kearney who was injured just before the match so Neil Reynolds and Simon Garner made earlier than expected returns to midfield. The misfortune continued when the ref awarded a very soft penalty that gifted the visitors a very early 4th minute lead, and continued even more when John Paul Fagan limped off to be replaced by Tony Evans. This led to more positional changes taking place and Kendal took full advantage by doubling the lead after 32 minutes with a good finish. Paul Rogers forced a great save from the visiting keeper when put through one-one-one and Tony Evans was blatantly pulled back in the penalty area only for the ref to award a freekick several yards outside the box. The Blues saw much of the ball in the second half but either a decent final pass was sadly lacking or the long balls into the box were easily dealt with by the Kendal defenders. Clitheroe chased the game but were caught at the back and went 0-3 behind in the 70th minute. George Melling was sent off for retaliating after being kicked while on the ground but the ref and his assistants failed to spot that and the Kendal player escaped without punishment. Kendal's victory continued their recent good run and took them to the top of the table while the Blues will be hoping that their luck changes....and changes soon.

Team : Collinge, Fagan, Hardwick, Melling, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson, Birchall, McNally, Rogers, Williams (Garner). Subs Garner. (not used : Kearney)

Sat 04/02/06
- Clitheroe 3 Gresley Rovers 3 (UniBond League) Att 224
Clitheroe conceded two very late goals and will be disappointed to have only taken a point from a game they dominated. Tony Evans made his first start in a month and new signing Mike Jones became the latest player to fill the right back slot. The Blues defence was keeping the league's top scorer Aaron O'Connor quiet and this led to them taking the lead after 23 minutes when Paul Stansfield steadied himself to firmly slot the ball home from close range. The lead was doubled in the 33rd minute when a great strike from Paul Rogers came back off the Gresley keeper and Tony Evans drove it in from 15 yards. The visitors pulled a goal back in the 38th minutes following some ping-pong action in the Clitheroe goalmouth to reduce the halftime arrears. Clitheroe started the second half brightly and Tony Evans scored his second goal after 52 minutes when he placed his shot superbly past the keeper from the edge of the penalty area. The Blues seemed to be back to winning ways but Gresley's danger man O'Connor had other ideas and in the 88th minute he made space in the area before firing home across Clitheroe keeper Peter Collinge. He bettered that goal in the 89th minute with a stunning volley to rescue a point from a certain defeat and leave the Blues shellshocked.

Team : Collinge, Jones, Hardwick, McNally, Kearney, Stansfield, Sargeson (Reynolds), Birchall (Taylor), T.Evans, Rogers (Girdlestone), Garner. Subs Reynolds, Girdlestone, Taylor

Sat 11/02/06
- Shepshed Dynamo 5 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 139
The Blues managed to put a makeshift team together following a turbulent week at Shawbridge that saw manager Tommy Lawson axed and several players leave. Ian Kearney and Tony Evans were recalled by Southport and placed at Radcliffe Borough after Clitheroe agreed to their release, Paul McNally left, while Michael Jones, Tom Hardwick, Adam Birchall and Paul Rogers were late withdrawals on Friday evening. Ryan Parr and Owen Roberts returned to Shawbridge, Eric Whalley at Accrington Stanley agreed to help the Blues in their hour of need and along with some young reserve lads enabled Clitheroe to fulfil the fixture. They were doing well until a superb strike after 20 minutes gave Shepshed the lead and they soon doubled it after 22 minutes with another good finish. Two more early second half goals, after 47 and 51 minutes, put the game well beyond Clitheroe but they continued to attack and had a couple of close chances themselves. Shepshed scored a fifth goal after 84 minutes to complete a comprehensive victory but they will know they will face a much stiffer challenge in the return next Saturday.

Team : Collinge, Charlesworth, Roberts, Parr, Priestley (Tomlinson), Stansfield, Green, Reynolds, Sargeson, Hughes (Duxbury(Caton)), Garner. Subs Tomlinson, Caton, Duxbury

Sat 18/02/06
- Clitheroe 1 Shepshed Dynamo 1 (UniBond League) Att 324
Clitheroe welcomed three more new faces to the starting line up and their experience enabled the Blues to gain a well earned point in this quick return fixture. There was nothing between the sides in the first half but Shepshed held the halftime advantage thanks to a bizarre 9th minute goal. A hopeful cross high into the box from wide on the left hand side somehow evaded unchallenged Clitheroe keeper Peter Collinge to nestle in the net. Clitheroe dominated the second half for long spells but didn't really bother the visitor's keeper while Shepshed looked dangerous on the break but were let down by some wayward finishing. The Blues equalised in the 70th minute when left back Owen Roberts played in a superb ball that hung invitingly for new striker James Featherstone to forcefully head home from 10 yards. Clitheroe continued to press in search for a second goal while the visitors relied on quick counter-attacks and in the end a point apiece was a fair result.

Team : Collinge, Charlesworth (D.Melling), Roberts, Parr, Maddox (Coar), Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Featherstone, Fowler, Garner. Subs D.Melling, Coar. not used : Caton.

Sat 25/02/06
- Clitheroe 1 AFC Goole 0 (UniBond League) Att 258
Clitheroe won 3 league points at home for the first time since October 8th last year with this victory over the side just below them in the league, helped by the first clean sheet at home since September 27th last year. Simon Garner almost gave the Blues the half-time advantage from the edge of the box but his well struck shot whistled just wide to leave an even first half goalless.The second half started with plenty of end to end action and AFC Goole had a brief spell on top before Clitheroe took a 77th minute lead through Craig Sargeson. He received the ball just inside the visitors penalty area and jinked forward before firing home low off the inside of the near post. It was just reward for his improved performance and the whole team celebrated with him. The team spirit is improving week by week and the players joy at the final whistle was there for all to see.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Parr, Maddox, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Featherstone, Coar (Sunley), Garner. Subs Sunley. not used : Caton, Tomlinson.

Sat 04/03/06
- Woodley Sports 2 Clitheroe 2 (UniBond League) Att 168
Clitheroe played their part in an entertaining game on Woodley's artificial pitch and made a dream start when Alan Coar poked home from close range after just 2 minutes. Woodley capitalised on a mix up in defence after 37 minutes to level the score for half time. The Blues went behind after 52 minutes when a huge deflection found its way in near the post and Woodley enjoyed a long spell on top but without threatening keeper Peter Collinge. Clitheroe gradually worked their way back into the game and were rewarded when James Featherstone stroked home a loose ball in the goalmouth for the equaliser after 77 minutes. A superb last minute burst by Paul Stansfield saw him lay the ball back for James Featherstone but his first-time shot sailed over the bar. This was a very good point against a very quick and athletic Woodley Sports side.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Featherstone, Coar (Dicken), Garner. Subs Dicken. not used : Sunley, Tomlinson.

Tue 07/03/06
- Eastwood Town 3 Clitheroe 1 (UniBond League) Att 119
The Blues fell behind to goals after 12 and 16 minutes but from then on were more than a match for a resurgent Eastwood Town. No further goals were added before the interval and for much of the second half Clitheroe were the dominant side. They couldn't make their pressure count though and a quick breakaway and fine finish after 86 minutes saw the home side make the game safe. Ryan Parr floated in a great cross for Alan Coar to head firmly home after 90 minutes for a late consolation goal.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson (Sunley), Reynolds, Featherstone (A.Taylor), C.Clark (Coar), Garner. Subs Coar, Sunley, A.Taylor

Sat 11/03/06
- Clitheroe 2 Bridlington Town 0 (UniBond League) Att 303
Clitheroe kept a second successive clean sheet at home and could have won much more convincingly against the high-flying visitors. New signing Andy Taylor almost gave the Blues another dream start but his shot went narrowly wide and it wasn't until the 45th minute that Clitheroe made the breakthrough, Paul Stansfield firing home sublimely from the edge of the box to give the Blues a deserved halftime lead. The lead was increased after 61 minutes when a Craig Sargeson freekick was glanced past his own keeper by a Bridlington defender under pressure from Andy Taylor. There were plenty of excellent performances across the pitch that gave caretaker boss Mark Smitheringale his second Shawbridge victory.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Garner, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson (Dicken), Reynolds, Featherstone (Sunley), A.Taylor (Coar), Roberts. Subs Coar, Sunley, Dicken

Tue 14/03/06
- Clitheroe 2 Warrington Town 3 (UniBond League) Att 236
Both sides contibuted to an entertaining game played on a very wet and heavy pitch. The play swung from end to end throughout and the visitors opened the scoring on 21 minutes. Blues striker Andy Taylor notched his first goal for the club when he finished off a good move from close range after 40 minutes to level the half time scoreline. Warrington regained the lead after 60 minutes and in the 62nd minutes they stretched it when a very hard pass forward struck a Clitheroe player to take the pace off it and left the Warrington forward to run on and slot past Peter Collinge. The Blues continued to drive forward and gained an 88th minute goal when Chris Clark fired home from a very narrow angle. This was a very good game considering the conditions and the result really could have gone either way.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Garner, Coar (Sunley), Anderson, C.Clark, Sargeson, Reynolds, Featherstone, A.Taylor, Roberts. Subs Coar. Not used : Tomlinson, Caton

Sat 18/03/06
- Ossett Albion 2 Clitheroe 1 (UniBond League) Att 102
Clitheroe struggled against the home side's offside trap and were repeatedly caught offside. Clearcut chances for either team were at a premium in a dour match and Ossett took a 45th minute lead on the stroke of half time through prolific striker Toronczak. They increased the lead in the 62nd minute before the Blues immediately pulled one back a minute later when Craig Sargeson swung in a right wing cross, Owen Roberts had a first time shot blocked and Paul Stansfield fired home a loose ball from close range. New signing Darrell Avery had little opportunity to shine in an experimental 4-5-1 formation.

Team : Collinge, Priestley (Sunley), Garner, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, A.Taylor, Avery, Roberts. Subs Sunley. Not used - Maddocks, Duxbury.

Sat 25/03/06
- Rossendale United 2 Clitheroe 1 (UniBond League) Att 257
Clitheroe more than matched the home team and were unlucky not to come away with a point. Rossendale took a 10th minute lead and the Blues equalised with a quality goal after 33 minutes. Craig Sargeson fed Scott Priestley on the overlap and his superb cross was headed home firmly from 8 yards by Paul Stansfield. Clitheroe enjoyed the greater possession in the second half but fell behind in the 79th minute when a Rossendale shot came back off the post and rebounded back off another home player into the net. Craig Sargeson had a long range shot tipped around the post and also fired over the bar from close range.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield (Coar), Sargeson, Avery, Taylor, Dicken (Sunley), Garner. Subs Sunley, Coar. Not used - Maddocks.

Sat 01/04/06
- Spalding United 1 Clitheroe 2 (UniBond League) Att 92
Clitheroe again had the lion's share of territorial advantage and a storming second half display earned the valuable 3 points. Spalding hadn't scored for 6 matches but took a 13th minute lead to shock even the home support. Craig Sargeson had a long range effort saved by the keeper but the Blues could not level the half time scores. A much improved start to the second half saw Clitheroe have 3 good chances saved by the home keeper - who then needlessly barged into Paul Stansfield in the 73rd minute as he chased a long ball and the ref pointed to the spot. Stanno coolly slotted home the resulting penalty kick and the winner came in the 81st minute when Craig Sargeson and Andy Taylor passed the ball through to sub Danny Gorton who sidestepped his marker and slammed the ball home from 10 yards.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Garner, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Taylor, Coar (Gorton), Avery (Sunley), Garner. Subs Sunley, Gorton. Not used - Caton.

Tue 04/04/06
- Clitheroe 1 Colwyn Bay 0 (UniBond League) Att 153
The Blues gained an impressive result against a very good footballing side thanks to a cracking goal from Craig Sargeson. Colwyn Bay bossed much of the first half and passed the ball quickly and simply to feet but then failed to deliver in front of goal as the first half ended goalless. Clitheroe fought their way back into the match with an improved second half performance and gradually gained the upper hand. The winning goal came in the 72nd minute when a punched clearance found Craig Sargeson on the edge of a packed penalty area. His first touch controlled the ball and set it up nicely for him to swivel and fire home left-footed into the top left hand corner - a superb piece of finishing. The Blues were confidently on top now and worked for each other in the remaining minutes to secure another clean sheet and the three points.

Team : Collinge, Priestley (Avery), Garner, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds, Taylor (Sunley), Coupe (Gorton), Roberts. Subs Sunley, Gorton, Avery.

Sat 08/04/06
- Clitheroe 0 Eastwood Town 3 (UniBond League) Att 199
Clitheroe were found sadly wanting in front of goal and fell to a heavy home defeat. Owen Roberts flashed an early freekick just wide of the goal and Paul Stansfield had a double attempt blocked just before half time but in between nothing of note was created. The second half appeared to drifting into a goalless affair until a bizarre couple of minutes midway through. Firstly, on 72 minutes an Eastwood corner was firmly kicked clear only for the ball to bounce back off the referee and promptly slotted home by the grateful Eastwood player. Just a minute later and the ref strangely awarded a freekick when an Eastwood player fell to the ground. The resulting freekick was driven low into the box and somehow found its way under keeper Peter Collinge's body. The visitors third goal came after 87 minutes when the ball was clipped home from 10 yards. Subs Andy Sunley and Alan Coar had late goal attempts that sailed high over the bar to cap a disappointing display by the Blues.

Team : Collinge, Priestley (Avery), Garner, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds (Sunley), Taylor (Coar), Coupe, Roberts. Subs Sunley, Coar, Avery.

Fri 14/04/06
- Clitheroe 0 Belper Town 2 (UniBond League) Att 173
Clitheroe were again lacking the killer touch in front of goal and despite having plenty of attacking possession they fell to another home defeat without scoring. Belper were gifted a goal in the 2nd minute when a defensive mix-up saw their striker steal in and prod the ball home. Andy Taylor had the Blues best chance when he was played clear on a one-on-one with the visiting keeper but his final shot was parried by the advancing keeper just inside the box. The second half again saw Clitheroe camped in Belper territory but they could not find a way through to test a limping keeper. Belper sealed the points in the 80th minute when they worked the ball across the Blues box and the free man on the right fired home.

Team : Collinge, Priestley (Fagan), Roberts, Garner, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds (Avery), Taylor (Coar), Featherstone, Sunley. Subs Fagan, Coar, Avery.

Mon 17/04/06
- Mossley 1 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 268
Clitheroe conceded an early goal again and had plenty of possession but struggled in the final third going forward. Mossley took the lead with a close range effort in the 2nd minute and then had a few more chances to increase the lead but the attempts were all off target. Clitheroe lost Ryan Parr to a head injury and Simon Garner moved to centre back to cover. Alan Coar saw a header sail over the bar shortly before half time. The Blues again had the majority of territorial advantage in the second half but it was Mossley who almost scored next when Adam Morning's shot struck the bar. The team matched the current league leaders and the only difference was the goal scored.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Parr (Avery), Anderson, Stansfield, Sunley (A.Taylor), Reynolds, Featherstone, Coar (Gorton), Garner. Subs A.Taylor, Gorton, Avery.

Sat 22/04/06
- Clitheroe 2 Rossendale United 0 (UniBond League) Att 214
The Blues stormed into a shock 1st minute lead when James Featherstone got a toe to a ball over the top to steer the ball home. Clitheroe were now in previously unchartered waters but they held firm and the defence confidently dealt with the Rossendale attack to take a slender lead at half time. The tempo was increased in the second half and Chris Coupe was unlucky to see a deft chip cleared before it crossed the goal line. The decisive second goal came in the 80th minute when Paul Stansfield was released through towards the visitors penalty area, he kept possession as he rode a tackle as was pushed wide and lobbed the ball back towards the goalmouth where Chris Coupe got the final touch to head home. James Featherstone and a Rossendale player were sent off close to the final whistle. This was another good team performance and the early goal advantage spurred the team on to an important victory on the UniBond run-in.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Gorton (Sunley), Reynolds, Featherstone, Coupe, Garner. Subs Sunley, Coar, Avery.

Tue 25/04/06
- Warrington Town 1 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 104
Clitheroe fell to another narrow defeat but the solitary goal was worthy of winning any match. The Blues made a bright start but all players struggled to control the ball on a very bobbly pitch and quick challenges led to miskicks or losing possession. James Featherstone was felled as he ran through on goal but nothing came from the resulting freekick. Warrington took the lead in the 18th minute when the dangerous Phil Mitchell controlled the ball on his chest and thundered in a stunning volley from the edge of the box that gave keeper Peter Collinge no chance. Another improved second half performance led to the Blues having more of the ball but not really threatening the home keeper. Danny Gorton had the best chance to equalise as he met a cross at the far post but his shot bounced back off the ground and over the bar. Warrington looked dangerous on the break but the defence stood firm and but for that stupendous strike would have kept another clean sheet.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Gorton (Sunley), Reynolds (Avery), Featherstone, Coupe, Garner (Sargeson). Subs Sargeson, Sunley, Avery.

Thu 27/04/06 - Stocksbridge Park Steels 4 Clitheroe 0 (UniBond League) Att 189
The Blues were a match for the play-offs chasing home side in the first half but fell behind in the 15th minute to a classic right wing cross / headed home in front of goal. Stocksbridge stepped up a gear in the second half and doubled the lead in the 57th minute before increasing it further in the 64th minute when they quickly broke forward from a Clitheroe corner and scored themselves. They sealed a play-off place with a 4th goal in the 81st minute.

Team : Collinge, Priestley, Roberts, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield (Sunley), Sargeson, Reynolds, Featherstone (Taylor (Duxbury)), Coupe, Avery. Subs Sunley, A.Taylor, Duxbury.

Sat 29/04/06 - Clitheroe 1 Bamber Bridge 0 (UniBond League) Att 228
Clitheroe ended the season with another clean sheet and a late goal from Paul Stansfield to beat close neighbours Bamber Bridge. The defence were a solid unit and kept Brig at bay and the Blues created openings but the final ball into the box was often not quite right. The second half was much the same and the defence kept Brig sub Greg Brickell quiet while Craig Sargeson was showing some great touches as Clitheroe searched for the opening goal. The visitors were reduced to ten men after 75 minutes and from the resulting freekick the Blues had a couple of goal bound efforts cleared. The winning goal came after 89 minutes when Andy Sunley was played through and he selfishly played the ball square for Paul Stansfield who seemed to take an age before finally shooting home through a crowded goal area.

Team :
Collinge, Priestley, Garner, Parr, Anderson, Stansfield, Sargeson, Reynolds (Avery), Featherstone (Gorton), Coupe, Roberts (Sunley). Subs Gorton, Sunley, Avery.

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