Defiant manager Alan Widdowson was encouraged by large chunks of Clipstone’s performance, even though they crashed 5-1 to ten men on Saturday.
The defeat at home to Barton Town was Clipstone’s 33rd from 34 matches in a torrid season at the foot of the Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division. And it meant relegation was just one point away from being a mathematical certainty.
But Widdowson was delighted with the football produced by his young side, considering the predicament they are in. “We just need to be more ruthless in the final third and show more concentration at the back,” he said. “But it’s all about the future for these lads.”
Clipstone opted to start the game with three at the back, but were soon 2-0 down to soft goals from Tom Waudby and Bill Law. They improved markedly when reverting to their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, and were given a lifeline when Barton had a player sent off for a deliberate elbow in the 35th minute.
They pulled a goal back with a Blessing Adeleye penalty on the stroke of half-time, but were hit by a 57th minute sucker-punch, scored by William Waudby, and conceded two more goals on 68 and 71 from Ashley Lattimore (penalty) and Gareth Barlow.