Below strength Horncastle Town well beaten
Ruston Sports 4 Horncastle Town 1
HORNCASTLE Town’s impressive start to the season ground to a halt at Ruston Sports on Saturday when an understrength side was well-beaten.
Town manager Paul Johnson again suffered terrible selection problems and was without Matt Low, Tommy Chalk, Alec Enderby, Will Carter, Luke Shelbourn, Ben Wadd, Keiron Hotchin, Luke Pickford, Jacob Wilson, Andrew Shinn and Jim Watters.
During the game, Gareth Melia and Dave Marshall suffered bad knocks while Steve Brown struggled with a hamstring problem.
Johnson brought in Andy Cooling at left-back and Callum Low at right-back, Michael Harness returned from suspension but lacked full fitness and two of the three substitutes were complete newcomers.
Despite the problems, the final score did Town no favours. Rustons deserved their win but Horncastle often threatened but lacked the power to break a determined defence.
The first half was even and Ollie Johnson thought he had given Horncastle the lead but the match officials ruled his close range effort had not crossed the line.
Good work from Low created a chance for Harness and he was only just off target. At the other end, Town ‘keeper Lewis Burchnall was not particularly busy and capably dealing with everything in his box
Harness might have scored very early in the second half but then Rustons took the lead with a fortunate goal on 55 minutes.
A cross from the left hit the far post and rolled back across the area for Gavin Mackie mis-hit a shot into the net.
Five minutes later, the lead was doubled when a good turn and shot from winger Tom Butcher found the corner of Burchnall’s net.
Horncastle suggested a recovery was on the cards when Johnson delivered another of his perfect free-kicks into the corner of the home.
Rather than swinging the momentum in Town’s favour, it was Rustons who scored again, with two goals inside a mad two minutes.
Craig Tomlinson was allowed to run deep from his own half before striker Alex Knibbs finished off.
Then, a long ball from the back beat the Town defence and allowed Mackie to crack in a long distance effort.
Thomas Lyons and Scott Maplethorpe replaced Low and Bent, then Daniel Boddily went on for Harness as Town’s walking wounded struggled to the final whistle.
Manager Johnson said: “Despite our difficulties, I still believe we might have gained something from the game.
“At the break, we were still well in with a shout but we could not keep up the pace in the second half.”
Town had gone into the game on the back of a battling 2-2 draw at Lincoln United in mid-week with goals from Carl Smith and Will Carter.
Johnson added: “After our good show at Lincoln, it began to look as if we were getting somewhere near to where we want to be then it all went awry on Saturday with so many selection difficulties.”
Town (4-4-2) L Burchnall; C Low, C Johnson, D Marshall, A Coolling; M Harness, O Johnson, S Brown, C Smith; D Bent, G Melia. Subs: C Maplethorpe, T Lyons, D Boddily.
*Town have no game this Saturday. They resume at home to Humbertherm on Wednesday, September 12.
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Weather for Horncastle
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west