Clitheroe 6-1 Ossett United
An early red card for skipper James Knowles set Ossett United on the path to defeat away at Clitheroe.
Connor Gaul converted the resulting penalty following the pull which saw Knowles dismissed, and later added another goal while Oliver Stirzaker and Craig Carney also scored late braces to make it an unfairly heavy scoreline.
Ossett had only a Tom Greaves strike as consolation and manager Wayne Benn, in his second game in charge at the club, rued the decision that saw his captain sent off.
“For me, there’s definitely a genuine attempt to win the ball and I thought that, with that being the case, it was only a yellow card,” he said.
“It hurts to concede the penalty and then be penalised twice with the man being sent off. Against a side that has won the last five, with 10 men and 1-0 down it’s always going to be tough.
“I thought we were really good for 60 minutes, I was very happy with performance. They were clearly clinical in the last 20 minutes and we made life too easy for them.”
The shape of the game was determined by events in the 16th minute, when Gaul ran onto a goal kick and was pulled by Knowles as he entered the penalty area. The referee judged that there was no attempt for the ball and the Ossett captain was dismissed, with Gaul rolling in the spot-kick to put Clitheroe in front.
Aaron Haswell, himself a late replacement in the starting line-up for Luke Porritt, was substituted to allow Dylan Cogill to fill the gap at the back, and United rallied well for much of the first half despite the disadvantage, with Nick Guest having one effort saved.
Clitheroe should have doubled their lead going into the break but Charlie Mulgrew put a fantastic chance wide from six yards.
Marko Basic was only a couple of inches away from levelling the scores in the second half with his curling free kick, but instead the next goal fell the way of the hosts as Gaul was slipped in behind and finished past Brett Souter.
They added to the lead 10 minutes from time as substitute Stirzaker headed home a corner from the centre of the box, and the points looked secure with Clitheroe.
However, a long Jack Stockdill pass over the defence two minutes later found striker Greaves and he controlled the ball well before finishing past goalkeeper Connor King.
The best goal of the game would make the points safe soon after though, as Carney found Oscar O’Neil and his flick allowed Carney to strike excellently into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Two further goals in the closing stages would make the scoreline a very harsh reflection of United’s efforts. Stirzaker got his second after being played in behind before Carney dispatched a loose ball in the box for his own brace.
Ossett are straight back in action on Tuesday night with a short trip to Pontefract Collieries in the Integro League Cup, before returning to Ingfield next Saturday with a league clash against Workington.
Clitheroe: King, Gray (Stirzaker 58), Armstrong, Stanley, Foulds, Russell, Gregory (Stead 86), Carney, Gaul, Mulgrew (O’Neil), Connelly.
Subs: Camarda, O’Neil, Stead, Stirzaker.
Goals: Gaul (17, 70), Stirzaker (80, 85), Carney (84, 89)
Ossett: Souter, Maltby, Hardaker, Stockdill, Knowles, McQuade, Guest, Gregory (Harrison 72), Greaves, Basic, Haswell (Cogill 19).
Subs: Harrison, Cogill, Katsamagkas.
Goals: Greaves (82)