Cleator Moor Celtic 1 Kirkbymoorside 0
Saturday saw the Moorsiders undertake what is believed to be the longest trip at Step 7 of the Non League Pyramid system with the 280-mile round trip to Cleator Moor.
The game had been in doubt after recent rain in Cumbria but the pitch passed an 8am inspection and the game was given the go ahead although any further rain would have been a bit of a problem. The pitch was very heavy and did not suit the passing game that Kirkby employ these days.
The Kirkby line-up was missing Johnny Brown, Chris Rhodes and Jonathon Birbeck through unavailability and Matty Bower and Tom Ellis were suspended.
Despite this it was a useful squad that travelled and Kirkby battled well only to suffer defeat as Cleator Moor scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half.
Kirkby started well keeping possession on the difficult surface with Sarjo Cham and Richard Okeahiazam linking play well in the middle.
Both teams defended well, limiting shots to long- range efforts. The first half concluded with Kirkby on top and Nathan James getting round the back of the Cleator defence a couple of times but being unable to convert.
The second half started in a similar fashion with Kirkby moving the ball well and the first opportunity was created by Uyi Ehima with an excellent run down the right beating two men but the cross was behind James and cleared by the defence.
On the hour mark a Cleator corner was cleared off the line by Connor Campbell after the ball took a deflection from Okeahiazam.
Kirkby still held the upper hand and a through ball by Jordan Rivis found James who rounded the keeper but put the ball into the side netting. It was the hosts who took the lead when Craig Padley headed home at the near post on 70 minutes.
Kirkby then reshuffled, playing three up front and three at the back which put some pressure on the home defence but long-range efforts from Rivis, Kwami and Bradbury didn’t cause too much difficulty for the Cleator keeper.
KIRKBY: Hodgson; Strickland, Richardson, Hodgson, Kwami; Campbell (Bradbury 65), Cham, Okeahiazam, Ehima (Chadwick 75); James, Rivis. Yellow Cards: Ehima, Rivis
Man of the match: Richard Okeahiazam