Visitors Cleethorpes became the first side to take maximum NCEL Division One points off Clipstone this season with a 2-0 win on Saturday.
Clipstone had been in good form, but this just wasn’t to be their day.
Clipstone had started the more lively and the ever confident Kieran Watson tried an audacious half volley on two minutes from 35 yards out near the right touchline, unfortunately his effort not dipping in time to trouble the Cleethorpes keeper.
In an open first few minutes it was Cleethorpes who came straight back at Clipstone and won a free kick 22 yards out to the right edge of the area, Clipstone defenders standing firm and managing to clear the danger.
In the next minute Watson once again found the ball at his feet on the left side. He ran onto the left edge and tried to curl the ball around keeper Miles Fenty, who saved well at full stretch to keep Clipstone at bay.
But on six minutes Cleethorpes took the lead. Louis Grant picked up the ball just outside the area and played a low ball across the face of goal where Marc Cooper was left unmarked to tap into the goal, leaving Ed Eley no chance of saving.
For the next 10 minutes all the play was a battle of midfield, with neither side taking control.
On 15 minutes Cleethorpes were awarded another free kick after Carl Snowdon was adjudged to have fouled the Cleethorpes attacker again from 22 yards out. Mascall swung in the ball and Rob Paling managed to get his head their first to clear for Cleethorpes’ first corner of the game. This time Clipstone did manage to clear their lines.
Clipstone’s best move of the game came on 17 minutes. Kieran Watson was fed through by Nathan Millington on the left. He ran on to the left edge of the area, sent a low cross to the far post, the ball landing at Ian Hillier’s feet but bobbling badly just before he connected with his right boot, and the ball going high and wide.
Watson seemed to be Clipstone’s best hope of scoring, having several chances in the first half.
On 20 minutes he had a vicious effort aiming for the top corner, only to be thwarted by Fenty in the Cleethorpes goal.
Once again Watson was put through on the right on 25 minutes, this time by Hillier, his low drive missing the right post by inches.
On 36 minutes Clipstone had another chance with a free kick on the far left after Watson was tripped. Hillier swung in the ball onto the head of Snowdon who flicked it on towards the far post, only to see the ball spin beyond the far post.
The last 10 minutes were played in midfield with each team counteracting the other.
Brett Marshall made his first substitution at the start of the second half, Jason Edwards replacing Rob Camm.
Clipstone were having just as much time on the ball as Cleethorpes in the first 20 minutes of the second half, with neither side making the necessary penetration that this game deserved.
Rob Austin Brandan Shaw was always on hand to sort out the Cleethorpes attack.
Cleethorpes had the first real chance as Cooper managed to wriggle through the Clipstone defenders and go one-on-one with Ed Eley. The home keeper making himself as big as possible and Cooper shot wide of the far post.
Second sub for Clipstone saw Lewis Jackson replace Nathan Millington on 66 minutes.
On 70 minutes Cleethorpes appealed for a penalty as Chris Funnell was felled inside the area.
The referee played an advantage as the ball bounced out to the right edge of the area where Cooper was on hand to blast the ball back across Eley and fire Cleethorpes into a two-goal lead.
Brett Marshall gambled on his third substitution with Adam Wisdom replacing Ian Hillier, leaving three strikers on the field of play.
Clipstone did try to get things moving but the ball would just not run for them.
CLIPSTONE: Eley, Armstrong, Paling, Shaw, Austin, Camm (Edwards 46), Hillier (Wisdom 75), Carty, Snowdon, Watson, Millington (Jackson 66). Subs not used: Allan, Weaver.
CLIPSTONE MAN OF THE MATCH: Rob Austin.