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Blues stop the rot to re-ignite play-off hopes

Clitheroe celebrate a goal against Brighouse Town''''Picture: Peter Ryan
Clitheroe celebrate a goal against Brighouse Town''''Picture: Peter Ryan
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Blues boss Simon Haworth is praying that ending a run of three games without a win will give his players the confidence to kick on towards the play-offs.

Clitheroe had endured defeats against Tadcaster Albion, Hyde United and South Shields recently, failing to find the net in all three encounters, but they stopped the rot with a 3-2 win over Brighouse Town at Shawbridge on Saturday, before a 3-1 win at Mossley on Tuesday night.

The hosts claimed maximum points on Saturday with more ease than the scoreline suggests, though they had to battle back from a goal down after just six minutes.

Jack Normanton found himself in acres of space on the right hand side and his delivery, whether meant as a cross or a shot, sailed over goalkeeper Chris Thompson and in to the net.

Clitheroe restored parity when Joe Mitchell struck the ball goalwards from a tight angle, close to the bye line, and his effort floated over the back pedalling keeper.

The momentum was gathering for the home side and just before the half-hour mark Haworth’s men had their noses in front.

Dimitri Tuanzebe and Ross Dent combined in the building up, teeing up loanee Jack Egan who swept the ball home to record his first goal for the club.

Things got better in the 38th minute when Egan turned provider as his cross was controlled and thumped in to the net in one movement by leading scorer Kurt Willoughby.

Clitheroe exerted plenty of pressure in the second half but failed to craft many clear cut opportunities.

Thompson made a smart at his near post in the 51st minute in a rare sighting of goal for the visitors.

Willoughby was denied when one-on-one minutes later, before squandering the rebound, and the striker failed to convert having rounded the keeper with 25 minutes of the fixture remaining.

Tuanzebe had a chance on 82 minutes after being played through by George Hughes, but the keeper saved well.

As the clock ticked down, Brighouse pulled a goal back in time added on as a cross from the right was flicked on and a stooping header from Mohammed Ibrahim beat Thompson.

“It was a really important win to get three points after a few weeks without a game,” said Haworth.

“We started the game slowly but went on to play very well and went 3-1 up. Neither team was great in the second half and we had some great opportunities to extend the lead but in the end we limped over the line.

“It was great to see Kurt score but it’s a team game and it’s all about the team winning really.

“Hopefully this will give us the confidence to kick on now and put an unbeaten run together. I’m pleased for Jack Egan to score, I thought he was a threat all game, and I also want to praise Dimi for his hard work and his goals will come sooner rather than later.”