FOOTBALL: Horncastle Town U11s bow out of the Sportsguard Cup

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Horncastle U11s 2

St Helens 3

Horncastle Town U11s, sponsored by Bullring Barbers and Agrii, were knocked out of the Sportsguard Cup to a very useful St Helens team, who are comfortably mid-table in the A-League, a division above Town.

Horncastle can hold their heads high as they took the game to the wire, although the visitors would have rightly felt they did enough to deserve victory.

Town started the match the brighter of the two sides and gave their opponents a shock after five minutes when they took the lead. Chamberlain in Town’s goal had no options short to play the ball to so elected to kick. The wind carried it a long way into St. Helens territory and Liam Cotton did excellently to put pressure on the visitors defender.

He won the ball on the byline and squared it to Ethan Burton-Melling who struck low into the far corner.

The visitors continued to press to find a way back into the game and they equalised with quarter of an hour gone. A lovely move down the right involving quick incisive passes led to the cross into the box falling at the feet of a Saints striker and he made no mistake from 10-yards.

St Helens did take the lead shortly before half time, again through some good football, a shot from just inside the box evading the outstretched foot of William Chamberlain.

St Helens continued to show their quality in the second period, the young number 16 a particular highlight. His balance and awareness combined with his ability to dribble with the ball at pace were certainly a joy to see. Horncastle continued to contribute to the game though and could have found an equaliser. Isaac Bontoft found Liam Cotton in a little space and he played a sublime through ball to Ethan Burton-Melling, splitting the defence, unfortunately Ethan’s shot went narrowly wide.

The visitors third goal was a piece of individual brilliance from the number 16. He picked the ball up halfway inside Town’s half and drove at the heart of the defence, skipping past a couple of tackles he found himself one on one with William Chamberlain and dinked the ball delightfully into the far corner.

It didn’t take Town long to reduce the deficit though. Oli Rennie won the ball on the right for Town and played the ball back into Jack Lunn who spread play to Liam Cotton. He hit a superb cross field pass to Alfie Meltom, who had been left all on his own. He took a touch to steady himself and calmly passed the ball into the corner of the net.

This set up a grandstand finish as Town pushed forward for an equaliser, but found the Saints defence standing firm.

The visitors could have added to the score late on as they forced a sequence of corners, but Town managed to scramble them clear.

Horncastle can take a huge amount of credit and encouragement for this performance.

Horncastle U18s suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to HBW United while Town’s U16s ran out 3-1 winners at Ruskington Lions.

The U10s meanwhile were involved in a six goal thriller at home to Market Rasen, but found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-4 scoreline.