Clitheroe 2 v 2 FC United of Manchester (Pre-Season Friendly)
Clitheroe Football Club welcomed former manager Neil Reynolds back to Shawbridge this Bank Holiday as David Lynch stepped up pre-season preparations ahead of the new season with a visit from Northern Premier League side FC United of Manchester. As with all non league matches this weekend, a limit number of supporters were allowed into the game which was an all ticket match as the club followed new FA coronavirus guidelines.
Clitheroe manager David Lynch gave a first outing to new signing Kamar Moncrieff, who showed some flashes of what he will bring with some pace wide on the left, the Blues also included fellow new arrival Braulio Maieco on the bench whilst also including a trialist striker in the starting line-up.
FC United, who are a division above their hosts started the match the stronger of the two sides, with a number of excellent runs down the right-wing by Lenehan and with Potts coming deep from midfield to collect the ball from the back four. Potts controlled the first half with some excellent one touch passing which started at lot of the visistors attacking moves through the middle of the park.
On twenty minutes, the visitors should have taken the lead when Fin Sinclair-Smith got onto the end of a Lenehan cross at the edge of the six yard box. But his shot was save by Thompson in the Clitheroe goal who tipped the ball onto the crossbar and out for a corner.
Just minutes later, the home side had a chance to take the lead as Ross Dent went on a typical burst into the FC United box, but his header from a Gaul cross was well saved by the visitors’ trialist goalkeeper to keep the score at 0-0.
Fin Sinclair-Smith, then had a second chance to put the viistors in ahead as an under hit back pass by Billy Priestley was collected by sinclair-Scott but his shot from the right-hand side of the area took a touch off keeper Chris Thompson and was diverted for a corner.
On-loan Fleetwood Town striker and ex-Burnley youngster Michael Fowler then spurned another chance for the Northern Premier League outfit when he sent a close range header crashing against the crossbar from an excellent Jack Lenehan cross.
Clitheroe again went close to taking the lead with an effort from the end of the area which was well save by the Trialist goalkeeper who managed to get a hand to the ball and turn it around for corner as the ball was arrowing towards the top right corner.
The visitors took the lead on twenty-nine minutes, when Linney and Fowler played a quick one-two at the edge of the Clitheroe area, Linney then played the ball to Lenehan on the right-hand side of the box, but his first time shot was parried by Chris Thompon into the path of Linney who beat the goalkeeper from fifteen yards to make it 0-1.
Clitheroe boss David Lynch made a couple of changes to the side at half-time bring on Terry Cummings and Kieran Feeney, who both made a massive instant impact as soon as the second half started. This was the classic game of two halves with FC United well on top in the first and Clitheroe outstanding in the second half.
Terry Cummings asked permanent questions of the visitors’ back line, although it was from the opposite flank that Gaul produced the Blues’ first equaliser just two minutes after the re-start. After seeing his initial cross half-cleared, Gaul seized possession and after working the ball onto his left foot, drove a fine low shot across goal and into the far corner.
FC United regained the lead on fifty-five minutes, when Fin Sinclair-Smith beat the full back Foulds before getting to the goal line and cutting the ball back low and hard into the Clitheroe six yard box, were Howson could only get a toe to the cross and divert the ball passed Chris Thompson into his own goal to make the score 1-2.
Clitheroe had a great chance to drew level on the hour mark, as Kieran Feeney beat the offside trap and found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Feeney slotted the ball passed the Trialist only to see the ball come back of the post and bounce to safety.
On sixty-eight minutes, Clitheroe drew level for the second time in the game as a corner from the left-hand side was sent into the area, were Foulds was at the far post to bring the ball down and drilled it into the net from six yards to make it 2-2.
The home side should have scored the winner on eighty minutes, when Keiran Feeney was denied again, it took a smart double save to keep out a fierce strike from Blues’ debutant Maieco and the follow-up from Gaul as he sniffed the chance to a second goal and a morale-boosting victory.
Speaking after the match Clitheroe manager David Lynch said, “I thought the team were absolutely magnificent this afternoon, against a really good non-league side in FC United of Manchester, they will be one of the top sides in the Northern Premier League this season which is credit to Neil Reynolds who is a brilliant manager.
I thought we had some outstanding performances from the players today Stopfort, Dent, Cummings, Feeney and Gaul were all brilliant today. But I think Wilkins was without dout the best player on the pitch, however the thing that pleased me the most was that you can see it’s a team that’s all pulling in the right direction and fighting for each other.”
Clitheroe – Thompson, Foulds, Howson, Priestley, Lonsdale; Gaul, Stopforth, Dent, Moncrieff, Wilkins, Trialist (Subs) Lynch, Tanner, Cummings, Maieco, Feeney, Hodds, Muir, Cane, Clegg, Lawless, Pennington
FC United – Trialist, Lenehan, Trialist, Morris, Dodd, Sinclair-Smith, Potts, Griffiths, Linney, Fowler, Donohoe (Subs) Ennis, Itota, Trialist, Trialist, Van Wyk, Owolabi, Martin
Goals – (Clitheroe) Gaul (47), Foulds (68) (FC United) Linney (29), Howson (55 o.g.)
Attendance – 378