FOOTBALL: Injured Johnson adds to Horncastle Town’s torment

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Nettleham 2 Horncastle Town 0

Injured skipper Chris Johnson was badly missed as Horncastle Town crashed to a surprise defeat at rock bottom Nettleham on Saturday.

Town went into their latest Sills and Betteridge League clash full of confidence after back-to-back wins in the league and cup.

However, they were well below their best and could have few complaints about the result after serving up a lethargic performance.

Johnson was ruled out by a hamstring problem and was replaced by Alec Enderby, but Town should still have packed too much power for their opponents.

Leading scorer Tony Edwards did return from an injury but he had to settle for a place on the bench as boss Paul Johnson understandably retained the majority of the side that faced Lincoln.

Neither side offered much of an attacking threat in a low key opening but it was Nettleham who took the lead.

Andrew Shinn was beaten for pace down the right flank and after Town struggled to clear their lines, the ball fell to Nettleham’s number 10, who smashed in a shot from the edge of the area past.

Town’s best chances of the half came from set pieces, but they were unable to find the equaliser and went in at the half way stage 1-0 down.

It was a similarly lack lustre start to the second half from Town who looked strangely short of confidence and out of ideas when it came to posing a threat in the opposition’s final third.

Edwards was introduced in an attempt to get Town on level terms but Nettleham doubled their advantage in the 65th minute.

Again, Town failed to clear a cross from the right and the ball was diverted beyond ‘keeper Will Wood by a Nettleham player.

Town began to dominate the possession more in the final stages of the game but to the disappointment of the travelling fans, they were unable were unable to open their account.

Instead, it was the hosts who claimed all three points to move off bottom in the league.

Town will certainly need to improve for their next game, a tough away trip to last year’s runners up Gainsborough Town.

Town: Wood, Shinn, Lowman, Enderby, Lovett, Melia (Low), O.Johnson (B.Johnson), Brown, Smith, Harness, Bent (Edwards).