With the clock already ticking over a minute into injury time Salford city won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. The Clitheroe keeper lined the wall up shouting to his players to `go right', `go left'…and then the Salford City fans behind the goal joined in… `Left…right…no right…left…sit down…no, not you…yes you…left…left…'
…With confusion reigning in the Clitheroe wall, Martin Ormesher, making his debut and on as a sub, took the kick which the wall failed to block and the ball squirmed into the left hand corner of the net with the keeper shaking his head. A great free kick but surely an assist – not for the first time – to the Ammies' fans…
The injury time equaliser had not only rescued a point for the Ammies but also probably ended any hopes that Clitheroe still had of making the play-offs. It also means Salford City have now suffered only one defeat in the last ten league and cup games, and are undefeated under caretaker manager team Andy Heald and Chris Thompson.
For long spells in this match, however, it looked like Salford just wouldn't get the breaks. After Clitheroe had missed two easy chances in the opening quarter, it was the crossbar that came to the home team's rescue twice. First Phil McGrath hit the bar with a cross shot, then, from Nathan Taylor's wicked cross, the Clitheroe centre half headed against his own bar when the ball could easily have flown into the net.
With luck not going for Salford, Clitheroe took the lead in the thirtieth minute, a long hoof catching the defence out, leaving the No 10, out wide on the right, to hammer home past Ritchie Branagan. 1-0
Salford came back into the game, the Clitheroe keeper saving with his legs from a point blank Nathan McDonald drive, and Danny White heading just over from a free kick.
Despite the pressure, Clitheroe went further ahead when joint caretaker manager Andy Heald, playing himself at centre half in the absence of injured Adrian Bellamy, lingered with the ball on the edge of the area, allowing the No 10 to rob him and fire the second goal. 2-0
Salford's comeback had a bizarre feel to it. Nathan McDonald found himself free in front of goal and duly hammered in a shot which rebounded off an advertising hoarding behind the goal. Virtually everyone thought it had gone wide of the post. There were no celebrations from players or supporters but the referee pointed to the centre circle and the goal was legit. The power of the shot had meant it rebounded out of the net so fast it had appeared to have missed. But it hadn't and Salford were back in the game. Half time 2-1.
The second half began with Phil McGrath again hitting the bar, this time from a dipping shot from outside the area that beat the keeper but not the woodwork. Clitheroe hit back, forcing Salford keeper Ritchie Branagan to make a stunning save to push one effort around the post.
It was becoming end to end stuff and, during one of many Salford attacks, Ryan Briody was bungled over in the area for a cast iron penalty that the referee somehow failed to spot. Probably because he'd gone blind with the excitement of it all.
It looked like Clitheroe were going to hang on for the victory, but with the clock ticking over injury time, Salford won the free kick - and Martin Ormesher, with a little help from the fans, drove home the equaliser. Final score 2-2.
This was Salford City's third league 2-2 draw in a row against the division's form teams. There now follow four home games on the run for the Ammies, beginning on Tuesday when New Mills visit Moor Lane (7:45pm kick off), followed by Farsley next Saturday. For further details see www.salfordcityfc.co.uk
Also on sale are tickets for the Manchester Premier Cup Final on Wednesday 27th March at Stockport County's Edgeley Park. The Ammies need as many fans as possible down there and we'd urge everyone to go and cheer on Salford's premier footy team. Tickets are priced £7/£3conc and kids under 16 go free.
Photos by Andrew Goudie