FOOTBALL: Goal ace Ayres blows away Horncastle Town’s cup dream

Horncastle Town striker Gareth Melia slides in to try and win the ball ahead of the IMP 'keeper during Saturday's Challenge Cup clash at The Wong.

Horncastle Town striker Gareth Melia slides in to try and win the ball ahead of the IMP 'keeper during Saturday's Challenge Cup clash at The Wong.

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Horncastle Town Reserves 1 RM Imp 4

Horncastle Town Reserves saw their dreams of defending the Challenge Cup dashed by a strong RM Imp side at The Wong on Saturday.

Although Town produced a battling performance, they could have few complaints as RM Imp showed why they are riding high at the top of the Lincoln and District League.

The game was a triumph for Imp striker Joe Ayres who scored all four of his side’s goals.

Things didn’t start well for Town as they suffered a major setback just 10-minutes in when top scorer Jack Baxter had to be replaced after injuring his knee.

Gareth Melia was his replacement, joining Lewis Burchnall up front, but the pair had few chances to shine against an organised Lincoln outfit.

The visitors took the lead five minutes after Baxter limped off. A pin point cross from the league’s top scorer Jason Tinkler found Joe Ayres in the box and he made no mistake with an accurate header.

Imp extended their lead on the half hour with a goal almost identical to their first. This time, the cross came from slightly deeper, but the header was again directed beyond Town ‘keeper Liam Smith.

Town came close to pulling a goal back just before half time but Melia’s looping header rebounded off the bar and away to safety.

The early stages of the second half saw a much improved effort from Town and they pressed strongly.

They finally broke through 20 minutes into the half. Ollie Johnson fired a free kick into the box which was sliced into his own net by an Imp defender.

Town were back in the tie, but Imp ended any hopes of a comeback an equaliser when Ayres completed his hat-trick.

He was allowed to turn just inside the box and a curling shot beat Smith who got a hand to the ball but was unable to push it away.

It was Ayres who rounded off an impressive individual performance with a 40-yard shot which flew beyond the reach of the Town keeper.

Town will be hoping to bounce back from the defeat when they return to league against Monos FC on March 22.

Team: Smith, Low, Maplethorpe, Watson, Marshall, Cheetham, Wilson (Wilkinson), O.Johnson, Bodily (S.Johnson), Burchnall, Baxter (Melia).