FOOTBALL: Jinx strikes again as Horncastle Reserves crash out of Challenge Cup

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RM Imp 2-1 Horncastle Town Reserves

Horncastle Town Reserves saw their RM Imp jinx strike again on Saturday when they lost a hard-fought Challenge Cup quarter final clash.

The two sides have been involved in some epic battles this season with Town causing plenty of problems for title chasing Imp.

That proved to be the case again and it took a controversial free kick to swing the tie in Imp’s favour.

Town again set up with a 5-4-1 formation, using the fifth defender as a sweeper, as they have done in recent games.

Imp started the game with lots of possession but didn’t really trouble Town’s defence who dealt confidently with their hosts’ long ball game.

Town always knew chances were going to be limited and when they did create an opening, it had to be taken.

The first clear cut chance duly came their way. The ball was played to Sam Johnson on the right who had found some space. He tried to sneak his shot past the Imp ‘keeper at the near post but the ball came back and cannoned to safety.

That Johnson effort came against the run of play possession wise and Town looked to hit Imp on the break.

Most of the action took place in midfield but it was Imp who broke the deadlock from a corner.

The initial cross was well defended, but the ball came back into the six-yard box and Imp’s prolific striker Lee Beesley stabbed the ball home from close range.

As half time approached, Imp pressed again with a couple of free kicks, but Town ‘keeper Jason Stamford was equal to the challenge.

Town were dealt a blow seconds before the break when Jamie Lamming injured his calf and had to be replaced.

Josh Cheetham replaced Lamming in central midfield and Town started the second half in encouraging style.

Their hard work paid off in the 58th minute when a lovely flowing move down the left released Ben Fidling. He hit a pin point cross into the danger zone and Cheetham headed home.

Town fully deserved to be level as the game hung on a knife-edge.

Imp were still looking dangerous with their quick attackers and on 75 minutes, only a last ditch tackle by Daniel Garnett stopped their striker shooting.

The referee controversially ruled Garnett’s tackle was a foul and Imp scored what proved to be the winning goal from the resulting free kick following a scramble inside the six-yard box.

Town replaced Daniel Bodily with Ryan Beaumont, returning from injury, and changed to 4-4-2.

The switch gave Town an extra attacking option and they came close to equalising with five minutes left, but a Fidling snap shot from 12-yards went agonisingly wide.

The final whistle blew leaving Town frustrated, knowing that they had again matched their highly rated opposition with nothing to show.

*The reserves return to league action on Saturday when they entertain Fulbeck.

Town - Stamford, Bodily, S.Maplethorpe, Garnett, D.Maplethorpe, D. Bodily (Beaumont), Fidling, Lamming (Cheetham), Bullivant, Johnson, Blondel. Sub: Wood.