Down the Dip


Northern Premier League North West Division

It has been over 5 years since I visited this neck of woods and a return has been long overdue. As was seeing the hosts win a game. Six previous games had resulted in 3 draws and 3 defeats, including a quite bizarre 6-1 defeat at Burscough.

Burscough raced into an early lead and wiped the floor with Clitheroe, 3-0 up inside 10 minutes or so, the 6th came shortly after the half hour. The visitors claiming the consolation 10 minutes into the second half. The floodlights started going out at one end, the end Burscough were attacking, with the hosts obviously desperate that the game finished they practically refused to attack, the visitors wanting the game stopped as half the pitch was getting darker and darker. The referee finished the game keeping half of those there happy at least.

So here I was, back at Shawbridge and in search of that, so far, elusive Clitheroe victory. It’s a great ground Shawbridge, love the little bits dotted around, though changes have been made at the Castle End since my last visit the rest seemed pretty much the same. Including the pitch. This is one of my favourites. It slopes from side to side with dips and rises seemingly all over it. It is brilliant and if this was ever to be levelled then football will have lost a gem.

A friendly welcome at the gate by club volunteers, excellent food at the Tub Grub and a pretty decent clubhouse too; friendly smiles and greeting awaits all around this ground.

Underway it took a little while to get going, but once we did the hosts were in charge, though the opening 45 minutes were pretty much a tale of them wasting chances. The other action of note was a game changer. The blues forward Gaul was through on goal, fouled by Knowles and awarded a penalty, the red that followed for the defender looked a little harsh to me, but that would be being picky against the official. Especially when he and his colleagues looked to be spot on with their decisions for the rest of the afternoon.  Back to the penalty, Gaul coolly trotted up to the ball and scored.

Following the obligatory break the match continued and it struggled to get going for a while. Gaul added his second, played through, this time with no defender to foul him he scored and with 10 minutes remaining the score was 2-0. Then things went a bit crazy, Clitheroe’s sub Strizaker headed a third, United pulled one back through Greaves, who must have the whitest teeth in non-league football. Carney scored a fourth with a strike from outside the area, Strizaker scored again before Carney added the sixth with the defence just allowing shots from wherever the blues wanted.

As the ref blew time on this game and the fans headed for the warmth, United’s manager Benn must have breathed a sigh of relief that this was only 6.

Attendance: 416

Moment of the Match: When United decided after pulling a goal back to make it 3-1 to totally neglect any defensive duties. Opened the gates for another 3 from the hosts

Match Tunes: High Land, Hard Rain – Aztec Camera

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