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FT: 3-0 W
Cliffe FC started the day second in the table and, using this game-in-hand, closed the gap to 4 points with a further two games-in-hand with a 3-0 win away to Leven Members Club Reserves.
Malcolm Bryce writes…
Cliffe FC started very brightly and took an early lead, after two minutes, with a Andy Kirkham shot that was too much for the Leven ‘keeper. With Leven second-bottom in the table Cliffe looked to go further ahead but the home side had a shot crash against the bar from long-range. The game continued pretty even and both teams looked like they could score going forward. Dave Heron down the Cliffe left-wing caused Leven a few problems with Heron having to avoid many tackles without no protection from the referee. Away ‘keeper, Ally Harris, was called into action making a point-blank save from a Leven corner and at the other end; Heron having a header cleared off the line. The sides went in with Cliffe ahead.
Second half saw much of the same from both sides without the score changing. As the clock ticked Leven began to look more likely that they could score. The Cliffe defence and centre-midfielder, Andy Addison, had to make many ball-winning challenges around the Cliffe box to avoid calling Harris into action. Whilst Leven looked for an equaliser it felt that Cliffe would get another and only needed a clear chance to do so. Byron Summers hit the inside of the post and wingers, Kev Taylor and Heron, continued to put pressure on Leven. Scott Birch and Andy Moughan, Cliffe central-defenders, had a lot to do clearing Cliffe’s lines. Fullbacks Simeon Leach and David Evans also worked hard in the Cliffe defence with Layton Hallam doing well when he replaced Leach late-on. It took the last minutes of the game to see the next goals. It was Cliffe who took a 2-nil lead, Summers rounding the ‘keeper and passing the ball into the net. With a short Steve Hullah cameo, a Leven sending-off and a Ben Rawson goal Cliffe ran out 3-nil winners.
The final scoreline reflected a bit unfair on Leven. Both teams worked hard and Cliffe’s early goal had the home side always chasing the game and Cliffe kept their clean sheet.
Harris, Leach (Hallam), Evans, Moughan, S. Birch (C), Kirkham, Addison, Heron, Taylor, Rawson, B. Summers (Hullah)
Kirkham, Summers, Rawson