FA Vase 5th round: Clitheroe 1 Bemerton Heath Harlequins 0

CLITHEROE moved a step nearer to Wembley after unsung hero Gary Rishton popped up with a matchwinner for the second successive round.

It was a Rishton header which saw off St Helens after a nerve-jangling encounter in the last round.

And he became the toast of Shawbridge once again when he turned up in the right place at the right time to head home a corner with 15 minutes left to keep the Blues dreams alive after another pulsating tie.

"It's beginning to become a habit," quipped delighted manager Steve Parry.

"There was a lot of crack after the game because as soon as we came off the pitch Brian Welch was trying to claim it was his goal but Gary wasn't having any of it.

"He is always a threat at set pieces and he has proved it once again."

It was the least Clitheroe deserved after bossing this tie for long periods without managing to apply the killer touch in front of goal.

They had the better of the chances in a nervy first half and Carl Greenwood could have bagged the opener in the first minute but blasted over from the edge of box.

Jon Riley then sent Welch away but his shot was superbly smothered by the visitors keeper and the ex-Stanley forward dragged another effort wide of the upright. Riley and Welch both came close again after the break before substitute Dave Gardner wriggled past a couple of challenges but his c ross-shot came back off the post.

But the Blues finally broke the deadlock with 15 minutes left.

Barry Hart swung over a right-wing corner which was flicked on for Rishton at the back post and although his effort seemed to have been cleared it was ruled to have crossed the line even though Welch tucked away the rebound.

Bemerton kept fighting and carved out their best chance of the match in the final 10 minutes but Jon Parrott came to the rescue with a superb save to prevent the Blues from conceding their first goal in four FA Vase ties this season.

"It wasn't the best of performances but it was all about the result on the day," said Parry.

"Once we scored we never looked in any danger and we could have had a few more at the end.

"If we can just get a home draw in the quarter finals then that is all we can ask for.

"But once you get down to the last eight there aren't any poor sides left."

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