Tuesday, 30 August 2016

CLITHEROE DOMINANT IN RAMS DERBY VICTORY

CLITHEROE 4 V RAMSBOTTOM UTD 0
NPL 1 NORTH AT SHAWBRIDGE
29 AUGUST 2016 --- 3PM
A CLASSIC CLITHEROE PICTURE THE VIEWS WITH SHAWBRIDGE IN FULL SPLENDOUR
A commanding performance from Clitheroe allowed them to completely dominate their near neighbours Ramsbottom Utd.  Indeed 3 up at half time, barring a disaster, signalled game over for the home side and even though the visitors restricted The Blues to a single goal in the second half they just could not find a way into a game that they looked totally off the pace of.
TODAYS DESTINATION WITH CLITHEROE CASTLE IN VIEW
Bank Holiday Mondays are often worth avoiding on the train travel front but having taken the risk a few times last year it worked out fine and as long as the seaside resorts are avoided it appeared to be a possibility.  So when Mike Bayly, see previous blog at Cheadle v FC Oswestry, suggested one of his favourites grounds was Clitheroe the old grey matter began whirring.  If I'm honest the East Lancashire town resting in the Ribble Valley had never really been on the radar but after a little hasty research over the weekend the travel arrangements were looked up and it was here that the blog found itself at base station just after 10am on this sunny[!] Bank Holiday morning.  So off to the north west for a further game this weekend and I have to say overall today was a case of which pictures to leave out its all very photogenic and difficult to chose but hopefully there is a fair selection.
ANOTHER VIEW FROM THE CASTLE
Departure on time to Manchester found a comfortable carriage with seats available indeed upon arrival at Manchester Piccadilly the through platform for my next connection to Salford Crescent just had to be supporting the Blackpool train and you can guess it was a well populated platform but we all boarded the 4 carriage Northern train and successfully changed at 'the Crescent' a few minutes later awaiting the Victoria departure to Clitheroe.  This would be a new line for the blog and although it had its quaint part, for example at Entwhistle, it was functional until we came up just short of Langho when the Ribble Valley appeared in all its splendour.  A day to be thankful for the beautiful Peak District on the journey to Manchester and now the glorious views to the immediate left of Lancashire.  We trundled into Clitheroe at just short of 1.15 with a few Ramsbottom fans departing too and the wonderful town was awash with sunshine and ready for some football but first a mini tour in the hour that was spare before the small walk to the ground.
THE COBBLED APPROACH TO THE TURNSTILES
Previous to visiting the only thing I would recognise as being connected to Clitheroe was the comedian Jimmy of the same surname who found fame in the 50's onwards.  From earlier mentioned hasty research I realised the castle was a must with its tremendous views of the surrounding countryside.  Upon departure of the station its a weird departure off onto a small road/footpath and back under the railway via a lane to reach the town side of Clitheroe.  The old station is a gallery and I believe an information centre which disappointingly was closed, a great shame because there appeared to be many tourists in the town who would I guess have liked more on the town for a future re visit.
TOWARDS THE MAIN STAND AND CHANGING ROOMS
The bunting strewn street led the blog to the castle and after a short climb the Keep was reached and the views were fantastic a place were you could have spent much time looking out at your favourite spots of the surrounding Ribble Valley sadly there wasn't too much time to hang around today but on the descent back down I ventured off the main street to take in the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene which on the walk away from offered a superb view of the castle towering above the streets below.
CLOSER VIEW WITH THOSE ROLLING HILLS
The blog has to report no chippy located today and it was necessary to stock up at the local 'T's' just shy of the ground.  Shawbridge and the ground was reached after a short navigation at around 2.15pm and the entrance is the first thing of interest with an approach via a cobbled alleyway with the backs of terrace houses to the right and the grounds main turnstile opening up to the left.  Entrance fee, programme and golden goal purchased it was time to take a look around Shawbridge and the comments I had received were certainly correct although the weather today was also a deciding factor in the confirmation of opinions.

Description of this ground really cannot do it justice its a ground of 'character', its lived in but functional and as the amazing backdrops of the castle, church and the rolling hills down both touchlines.  But here goes immediately to the left is a deep but low roofed stand to the first touchline which contains a new hospitality cabin, snack bar, toilets and the new modern cabin changing rooms before the main stand which has some quality old style wooden pew like seats set within it.
THE SLOPE TO THE CORNER FLAG ADDS TO THE INTERESTING NATURE OF SHAWBRIDGE
To the far corner and we go behind the goal which slopes up to the far corner flag quite sharply.  This end has become the away end with the Rammy fans I travelled on the train with already in situ and cheering on their players who are warming up.  This sharp but not deep covered stand offered a cracking little view of proceedings.
COVERED TERRACING WITH A SUPERB VIEW OF THE GAME
The far touchline offers a commanding covered terrace for around 2/3rds of its length and its here I recognise a character from a past visit to Colne a few years more at half time.  There was also the chance to catch up with 'Cod Of The North' and his wife Liz who were taking pictures, indeed today there were a lot of people peering through a lens of one variety or another.
THE UNIQUE SEATS IN THE MAIN STAND
Back behind the goal were we entered and the clubhouse, again in modern cabin style, was doing a steady trade and we had got ourselves to 15 minutes to kick off.
TODAYS OFFICIALS HEADED UP BY ALAN BENNETT IN PRE MATCH WARM UP
The crowd was building up and indeed they must have come out of the bar and been some last minute arrivals because by the time referee Bennett blew his whistle we had reached an attendance of 436.
LOVELY APPLAUSE IN MEMORY OF CLIFF CHATBURN CLITHEROE FC
Before todays game there was a warm minutes applause for former clubman Cliff Chatburn who received a tremendous send off from the lady on the P.A. who really gave a feel for this gentleman for all us who did not know him and of course for those who had spent many happy times with him at his club.  Indeed one of his lasting memories will be the work he did on seeing through the installation of the smart new hospitality suite.  While on the P.A. topic it has to be said the lady in question did a sterling job all afternoon and as I've said before it makes such a difference to the atmosphere if its done well and it was here.
MATCH ACTION WITH THE CASTLE OVERSEEING
To the game then and it did not start well for the visitors when after 8 minutes Bradley Carroll lashed home a penalty after Rams keeper Jack Cookson had upended James Walker.
THE CASTLE AGAIN WITH RAMSBOTTOMS ALEX MEANEY IN PLAY
The second came just past the half hour mark when Bradley Knox fired an unstoppable shot from 25 yards when nobody probably expected him too.  The first half scoring was complete when just minutes later Kurt Wiloughby placed a lovely ball through for Alex Newby to run on and fire past the out coming Cookson.
We reached half time with the home side 3 goals to the good and Ramsbottom appearing shell shocked they just had not been able to get a foot hold in the game.
RONNIE MORAN AND HIS SON PAUL
On my earlier circuit I thought I had recognised Paul Moran who loves to take pictures at non league grounds and who I had met when Bootle were at Colne a few years back and his son was playing in goal for the Liverpool based side.  Well today it was an additional pleasure with Pauls dad the legend that is Ronnie Moran along with his son for the game.  Ronnie played 343 games for Liverpool as player and captain and of course went on to be part of the famous 'boot room team' alongside Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Bill Shankley and Reuben Bennett.  There was of course 2 spells as caretaker manager at the club as well as his time coaching which took his service to just short of 50 years at his only club.  It was great to meet him today 82 years old and still watching the footy, thanks Paul.
STEADY
Mr Moran junior had predicted a second half sending off and it came on 58 minutes when probably due to frustration Paul Linwood, in front of the referee grabbed Dimitry Tuanzabe around the front and received a straight red before anything could get out of hand.
HERE COMES THE RED
The visitors went onto amass 5 yellow cards and I guess the previously mentioned frustration was a deciding factor in this total.
AND HERE'S A YELLOW
Just past the hour mark Ramsbottom knew it would not be there day when Jason Hart found himself in a one on one with home keeper Chris Thompson only for the home custodian to race out to deny him but Clitheroe found Tuanzabe whose pace took him round the keeper and last defender to slot the ball home into an unguarded goal for 4-0.  The Blues could probably have had a few more non more so than in the first of three minutes added on when Walker saw his close range effort cleared off the line by Matt Atherton.
TUANZABE MAKES IT 4
Joyous local derby victory scenes by the Clitheroe fans at the fan whistle were of course not mirrored by the very unhappy Ramsbottom faithful who made their feelings clear about the visitors overall showing in this game.
Overall though this was a very fair result played in front of a nice sized crowd on a lovely day were this superb little ground is cupped in the hand of the nestling beauty that surrounds it in both town and countryside, well worth the visit.
With 3/4's of an hour to go before the departure provisions intake for the journey back was made at a Lancashire based food supermarket that I had not come across before Booths was by the station so I opted to leave a few pounds there.  They appear to be a local firm similar in style to Waitrose offering a more speciality type of produce alongside the national named items.
My choice fayre was a 'Toppings Pork Pie' boxed up nicely local produce with British pork, arriving back at the station in the glittering sunshine the logic told me eat the pork pie first.  I ended with the contradiction, when looking at where it was made, of eating a Yorkshire pie in a Lancashire town the shame.
The inward bound train for its return to Manchester Victoria had cleared the station from Platform 2 and was soon in place with 15 minutes to go before departure from number 1 platform.  Having enjoyed the last few minutes on the platform it was time to depart fro the first change at Salford Crescent.  An interesting experience here was a Freightliner train pulling through with Viridor waste containers emitting a non to fresh smell bit we we were soon connecting up at Oxford Rd were after a small wait the final train of the day was a comfortable affair which departed the blog at base station at around 9pm.
Overall the weather was fantastic and I'm sure has an influence on how you feel about visits like this but it has to be a must if you haven't done Clitheroe and its football club a superb ground full of everything that's great about football at step 4 and a town to also spend some time in if you should wish.
15O DROPS THE BLOG AT PLATFORM 2 WITH CLITHEROE CASTLE IN VIEW


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