Horncastle leave it very late to rescue cChallenge Cup
Lincolnshire League Challenge Cup
Horncastle Town 5
Sleaford Town Reserves 1 AET
by Lloyd Harmston
TOWN made it through this Challenge Cup tie by the skin of their teeth, even though the final scoreline may suggest otherwise.
Trailing by the only goal of the game from Sleaford’s Andrew Harris, and with minutes left on the clock, it took a superbly-placed free-kick from Ollie Johnson to level the scores and send the tie into extra time.
That was the signal for Town to step up a gear and, at last, stamp their authority on the proceedings.
Home manager Paul Johnson had a clutch of players unavailable, almost half of his usual starting squad, stretching the playing staff to the limits.
Andrew Shinn and Tommy Chalk took knocks in the mid-week game at Nettleham, while Ben Wadd was also sidelined through injury.
Michael Harness is under suspension; Carl Smith was unavailable and Alec Enderby and Matt Low were working.
Sleaford caused a few problems in the first half of normal time, scoring during a good spell midway through the period.
They came close to doubling their tally and it took a good reflex save from Lewis Burchnall to save Town’s blushes.
Horncastle’s Danny Bent hit the crossbar and had a goal disallowed, but it was into the second half before Town began to look the better side.
A blatant penalty was denied when substitute Jacob Wilson, on for Luck Pickford, was felled inside the box and it began to look as though it was not going to be Town’s day.
However, as time was running out Ollie Johnson struck that vital free-kick to level the scores and send the game into extra time.
From here on it was an entirely different ball-game as the visitors tired and Horncastle took charge.
Steve Brown sent Town into the lead in the first period of extra time with a very good goal.
After the change-round further goals came from Wilson, Luke Shelbourn and finally another from Wilson.
Team: L Burchnall, J Watters, C Johnson, D Marshall, L Shelbourn, K Hotchin, O Johnson, S Brown, L Pickford, G Melia, D Bent.
Subs: J Melia, J Wilson, B Johnson.
The cup win came a few days after a midweek loss at Nettleham, when the home side took the honours by the odd goal in five.
Goals from Daniel Bent and Ollie Johnson were not quite enough to salvage a point for Town in a game where both Tommy Chalk and Andrew Shinn had to leave the field early on, having sustained injuries.
Interestingly, Town’s 10 goals so far this season have come from eight different players.
There is another Wednesday evening game this week (29th) with a visit to Lincoln United Reserves (kick-off 7.45pm) and on Saturday Town return to Lincoln, this time to face Ruston Sports.
It was in the league opener just two weeks ago at The Wong that Town defeated Ruston 3-1.
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Weather for Horncastle
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 29 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North