TRAFFORD produced a sparkling display to beat Clitheroe 3-1 on Tuesday night although the margin of victory should have been much greater as they struck the woodwork four times and were denied by some brilliant saves by visiting keeper Chris Thompson.

The hosts were in control from the start with Aaron Burns striking the upright in the fourth minute with a neat turn and volley.

Seconds later Burns saw a goal disallowed for offside before James Dean put them ahead when he crashed the ball past Chris Thompson from 15 yards.

Burns and Dean had chances to increase Trafford’s lead and shortly before half time Scott Sephton headed inches over and a glancing header by Andy Keogh was brilliantly saved by the impressive Thompson.

Clitheroe came out strongly in the opening minutes of the second period and home keeper Grant Shenton produced a magnificent save to thwart Alex Newby.

But in the 54th minute Tom Baker’s side were rocked when Ally Brown carelessly conceded possession and the ball was crossed for Kurt Willoughby to volley home from 10 yards.

Trafford immediately re-asserted their authority and Thompson performed more heroics to save a Jack Dorney thunderbolt and a powerful back-post header by Sephton.

However, the keeper was powerless to prevent Trafford from regaining the lead in the 63rd minute when Michael Monaghan was tripped and Aaron Burns coolly placed the resulting penalty inside the left-hand post.

Clitheroe were not out of it, though, and three minutes later Newby struck a great low drive from 30 yards that cannoned back into play off the foot of the post.

Burns was desperately unlucky when he struck the upright twice within the space of two minutes but he turned provider in the 77th minute when he flicked the ball on and Dean hooked a tremendous shot into the roof of the net from 15 yards.

Thompson then tipped a Louis Corrigan free kick over the bar and from the resulting corner, Sephton powered a header against the bar.

The final whistle signalled the end of an enthralling game and three welcome points for Trafford in what was their finest performance of the season to date.

The home win came off the back of a 1-1 draw at Colne four days earlier.

A thunderous 20-yard drive by left-back Corrigan in the 74th minute salvaged a point for Trafford in that game.

The visitors were on top in the opening stages and Colne goalkeeper Matthew Green was fortunate in the 10th minute when he miskicked the ball straight to Burns but the Trafford striker stumbled and failed to control.

Dorney then volleyed over from 30 yards before missing a glorious opportunity when he shot weakly at Green from just eight yards.

At the other end Lee Gaskell headed wide at the back post but it was Trafford who were the dominant force and a brilliant sweeping move in the 27th minute ended with Keogh’s goal-bound shot being deflected wide by Lee Pugh.

Green was fortunate in the 36th minute when he fumbled a drive by Burns and saw the ball flop onto the roof of the net and the first half ended with Keogh volleying just over from the edge of the penalty area.

With the slope in their favour, Colne pushed forward at the start of the second half with Alex Coleman and Aaron Fleming going close before Shiraz Khan put them ahead in the 59th minute when he fired past Shenton following good work on the right by Alex Curran.

Shortly afterwards, Curran unleashed a tremendous drive from the left that was superbly saved by Shenton as Colne sought a second goal.

However, it was Trafford who scored a deserved equaliser in the 74th minute when home keeper Green punched a high cross into the path of Corrigan who cracked a great angled drive inside the far post.

Baker’s side pushed forward relentlessly in search of the winner and in the 86th minute they were desperately unlucky when substitute Dean crossed from the right and Burns headed powerfully against the left-hand upright.

Then in the dying seconds they were unfortunate once more when another knock down by Dean was volleyed straight into Green’s hands by Dorney.

Baker’s Boys will be hoping to take their recent good form into Saturday’s FA Trophy game when they visit Prescot Cables, kick off 3pm.