FOOTBALL: Horncastle lose out in five goal thriller
Horncastle Town 2 – Gainsborough Town 3
By Lloyd Harmston
TOWN were without a game last Saturday as scheduled opponents Lincoln Moorlands Reserves were unable to field a side.
However, there was a most entertaining midweek game at home to Gainsborough, with Paul Johnson’s men going down by the odd goal in five. This was against the side that despatched Horncastle from the Challenge Cup by four goals to one just a couple of weeks earlier.
Having been despatched from the Challenge Cup 1-4 by this opposition recently, Town hoped for a better effort this time around.
Sure enough, the side responded admirably.
Having been troubled so much with selection problems, this time manager Johnson did send out a strong side, only for injuries to have a huge effect on the proceedings during the game itself.
Lining–up with a five-man midfield, Town really did play well and although Gainsborough had a big share of the possession, they hardly looked like doing any real damage.
After just five minutes Ollie Johnson sent in a free-kick that hit the wall and came out. Dave Marshall followed in to crack a stunning 35–yard half volley into the net for a candidate for goal-of-the-season. 1-0.
Five minutes later a Carl Smith corner fell for Chris Johnson and although he could not get a clean strike, the ball was scraped from the goal-line.
The Town defence was caught out just once, leaving keeper Lewis Burchnall to pull off a splendid save. He then tipped a header over the bar. HT 1-0
Town held on as they saw out a 15-minute storm immediately after the break. However, Andrew Shinn had to depart with a hamstring problem so Matt Low dropped to left-back and on went Jacob Wilson to the left flank.
More problems came when the effects of the ‘flu bug caught up with Low and he had to retire. It meant more changes with Marshall switching to left-back and Daryl Dunn going on to right-back on his return from long-term injury.
Gainsborough levelled on 65 minutes as Town lost possession in midfield, leaving the visitors with a fairly easy close-range finish. 1-1.
That might well have signalled a turn in the visitors’ favour, but it was the home side that scored next to regain the lead.
It came as Carl Smith and Ollie Johnson combined neatly for Johnson’s cross to elude everyone in the box, leaving Michael Harness at the back post for an easy tap-in. 2-1.
On 75 minutes there was more disruption to the Town side when Ollie Johnson turned an ankle and had to go off for Jim Watters.
Ten minutes from the end Gainsborough again levelled as keeper Burchnall spilled a difficult ball under the bar leaving another easy finish. 2-2.
Two minutes from time Horncastle were robbed of the point they deserved when a simple ball into the box was somehow toe-ended in from close range. 2-3.
Manager Johnson said: “I really felt for the lads, having given such a superb effort and to be denied right at the death.
“That was perhaps our best performance of the season against a very good Gainsborough side. The game plan worked out well, right up to those enforced changes, and there was no way we could legislate for that.”
Team (4-5-1) L Burchnall; D Marshall, C Johnson, A Enderby, A Shinn; M Harness, O Johnson, S Brown, C Smith, M Low; D Bent. Subs: J Wilson, D Dunn, J Watters.
Town entertain Heckington tonight, Wednesday October 3, and on Saturday make the trip to Long Sutton for a second round Lincs Junior cup-tie, kick-off 2.30pm.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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