Lewis heads winner in Town’s smash and grab

Benn Lewis got Town's winner at Clipstone. Picture by AJS Productions
Benn Lewis got Town's winner at Clipstone. Picture by AJS Productions

The first meeting between Clipstone and Bridlington Town was worth waiting for as it produced a pulsating game that fully entertained the spectators who braved the wet conditions.

Town who were without their three regular front men of Andy Norfolk, Joel Sutton and Will Waudby, because of suspensions, had to fight a rearguard reaction at times, in which central defenders Ryan Nicholls and Chris Jenkinson were prominent in defying the hosts.

Clipstone could feel aggrieved that they did not salvage a deserved point but it was an impressive performance from two committed teams, supported by an equally competent team of officials.

Although the match statistics show that there were few attempts on goal, it was down to some great defending by both sides rather than the lack of effort by the opposing attacks.

Visiting goalkeeper James Hitchcock commanded his area for most of the game but his early mistake almost let in Oli Ryan who was thwarted by a timely tackle from Nicholls.

Hitchcock’s opposite number Steve Hernandez appeared edgy at times, failing to cleanly collect a cross from Jamie Reeson and often nervously clearing his lines with his suspect kicking, but in a Town counter attack he was quick enough to leave his goal and kick the ball away for a throw-in as Reeson closed in.

Tom Fleming sent an effort wide of the target and Benn Lewis directed a free header over the bar from a corner while James Ashmore’s attempt at the other end was charged down as Clipstone edged a first half that ended without an end product for either side.

Eight minutes after the restart both sides made substitutions with Clipstone bringing on the league’s leading scorer Alec Denton, but it was the Seasiders who broke the deadlock a minute later when Reeson’s telling cross was met at the far by Lewis who atoned for his earlier miss by thundering a header past Fernandez.

As Clipstone tried to draw level, Nicholls cleared an Ashmore cross for a corner and when the Clipstone man sent in another centre, Hitchcock held on to a header from the energetic Nick Walker.

Both Reeson and home defender Chris Salt were shown yellow cards for late tackles but on the whole it was a clean well fought game that saw Clipstone on the offensive for most of the second period.

The Town back four, however, stuck to their task in front of the dependable Hitchcock and with Fleming, Conner Harman and Tim Taylor running tirelessly in midfield, the visitors held on for the three points that lifted them above their opponents and into third place.

As after-match comments showed, the game was greatly appreciated by the crowd of just over 100 which included Toolstation Northern Counties East League officials

Town: Hitchcock, Lewis, Brunton, Knaggs, Nicholls, Jenkinson, Harman, Fleming, Reeson (Richardson 83), Taylor, Adams (Wray 53).

Unused substitutes: T. Waudby, Rafter, Baxter.

Town had been due to host struggling Brigg Town in the League Cup on Tuesday evening.

But the match was postponed after persistent heavy rain throughout the day left the Queensgate pitch waterlogged.

An inspection was held mid-afternoon and it was felt that with conditions unlikely to improve before kick off, there was no way the game could go ahead.

The match has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 2, meaning the Seasiders have three home games in a week.

Town head to Nostell Miners Welfare on Saturday, weather permitting, hoping to avenge September’s surprise 3-1 home defeat.

Nostell are 18th in the NCEl table.