Tuesday 27th October 2009
UniBond Northern Premier League Division 1 North
Clitheroe 1 Woodley Sports 0
Tea hut purchases: Tea £1, Steak pie £1.50
Weather: Very mild for this time of the year, a calm and dry evening
Parking: Roadside, just down the lane from the ground, easy exit
I'd been joined on this visit by Glenn, probably the worst tipster and football predictions failure I have ever met. Glenn is also a habitual economiser of gargantuan proportions and as we travelled towards the main route to get across to Clitheroe he was telling me of his latest cost-saver bargain. He'd bought himself a new pair of shoes and mighty proud of them he was too, in fact he had them on. Glenn mentioned that he'd spied them as soon as he entered the shoe shop but they were far too expensive for him. As he moved down the shop to the remnant-sales racks he was gob smacked to find a single pair of the shoes he'd liked now on offer for only £7. "Yep" he smugly remarked, "only 7 quid for a top dollar pair of the finest shoes in the county", I had to agree that really sounded a bargain. Glenn continued to mention that he would be mainly wearing the new shoes for night matches as they were different sizes! His reasoning was the shadows would lessen the image of him having one shoe bigger than the other! It was at this point that I missed my turning for the A58 and inadvertently went down the slip road for the M62, the tale had now caused me an extra 20 miles in fuel as I found a new route to make use of being stuck on the motorway. In addition to this I'd be looking at his new shiny shoes all night. Shawbridge is the home of Clitheroe FC and it is everything one could hope to find at a non-league ground. Tremendously charismatic stands and various covered terraces, a homely brightly lit tea hut, decent friendly people, there is even a 1 in 4 slope at one corner of the ground (well not quite 1 in 4 but the slope is significant), all excellent stuff and I found it a jolly good place to visit. I had a walk around the ground, even managing to lose Glenn and his new shoes for a while and I predictably ended up at the tea hut which had the fantastic title of 'Blues Grub Tub' emblazoned across it. There was already a good number of people tucking into some steaming pies and even though I had put away a decent sized evening meal before I left home I found myself asking the Tea Hut lady for a lightly baked steak pie. I enquired of its origins? Tea Hut lady told me it was from the famous Clayton Park Bakery and many folk reckoned these pies to be the very best in the entire UniBond League. Wow! Gosh it was a hot one, I had to stave off my greed for nearly ten minutes before I could eat it. Unfortunately I had to disagree with Tea Hut ladies glowing reference for the pie, I found the filling lacking on meat and a bit too runny with gravy. My pie of the season 'front runner' still remains the steak pie from Glossop North End. Both Clitheroe and the visitors, Woodley Sports are currently in the lower reaches of the UniBond Division 1 North, both sides had struggled to put the ball in the net and this match was already looking a six pointer. Travelling support from Woodley was minimal, it seemed to consist of just 4 lads (my apologies if others were there). The lads provided excellent support for their side throughout the whole 90 minutes by endlessly singing and shouting encouragement. The match itself was really very entertaining and I've never been to a game with so many missed chances, fluffed sitters and tremendous goal saving clearances, it had everything.... apart from goals! Clitheroe had three quarters of the chances to run up a cricket score but Woodley should have also put 4 or 5 in the net, particularly poor Gavin Salmon the respected Woodley striker who put one of the easiest tap-ins wide you could ever see outside a 'jumpers for goalposts' encounter. Poor Gavin would surely have won the match for Woodley as his mind-boggling miss came with the scores still at 0-0 and only minutes remaining. This was my 31st game of the season and not one, up to now, had ended goal-less, I was pleading for one to go in (from either side) as we entered 4 minutes of injury time. Again chances still came and went and then finally, gloriously in the 4th minute of added time Clitheroe got the all important goal to end a fantastic finale of a wonderful match, ten seconds later the referee Mr I Siddall of Bolton (the best referee I've seen this season) blew his whistle to send Clitheroe fans into dreamland. Everybody was laughing and smiling at the outcome..... apart from the 4 lads from Woodley. Spare a thought for the exhausted ball boy who collapsed in a heap as the players trooped off to the dressing rooms. This hero in an oversized Hi Visibility Vest had been fetching sky bound miss-hit shots back from the gardens, nearby ponds and side streets of Clitheroe for over an hour and a half. He just couldn't take any more.