CLIFTON RANGERS 1
UNDER 17 CUP FINAL
ROTHWELL took the honours thanks to a James Kitson double at the Welfare Ground.
And it spelled agony for Clifton’s Tom Gledhill, who travelled 1,300 miles overland back from holiday because of the flight ban only to finish on the losing side (see news story).
Rothwell looked brighter from the start but, apart from a brilliant stop by keeper Will Pitcher to deny Josh Addinall, the Clifton defence of Josh Michaels, James Coates, Gledhill and Oliver Heatley allowed Rothwell little space in front of goal.
After half an hour, Clifton finally began to get a foothold in the game, almost taking the lead when Marshall Riley flashed a shot across goal which was only deflected for a corner when keeper Tom Andrews, at full stretch, fingertipped the ball around a post.
But Clifton’s new-found dominance found them pushing a little too far up field and the defence was caught square when a ball over the top fell to Kitson, who rounded Pitcher to give Rothwell the lead with only three minutes to the half-time whistle.
Rothwell were still struggling to find the rhythm with which they dominated much of the first half and they were made to pay 10 minutes after the re-start when Danny Cooke fired home the equaliser.
And Rothwell were very lucky not to concede another goal when Cooke, who was now beginning to cause havoc in the Rothwell defence, ran 20 yards past three heavy tackles to within shooting distance, only to be denied when two of his own teammates contrived to block his shot and the chance was gone.
As the game moved into the 80th-minute a substitution saw Joe Childerson replace Scott Newton, whose non-stop workrate had been the backbone of Rothwell’s midfield, and the move seemed to do the trick.
Within minutes of the substitution, Rothwell might have settled the issue when a Liam Addinall free-kick was parried by Pitcher into the path of Jack Andrews, whose mis-hit volley clipped the angle of upright and crossbar.
At the other end, Gledhill’s 1,300 mile journey almost ended happily but his header flashed inches wide of the Rothwell target to leave the game tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes.
With 20 minutes of extra-time to play, Clifton set off in search of a winner, but the Brighouse side found themselves overstretched when Kitson once again beat the offside trap to slot the ball past the onrushing keeper to regain the lead for Rothwell.
Clifton almost found another equaliser moments from the final whistle but Joseph Lawson’s free-kick skimmed the top of the bar and Rothwell held out for victory.