FOOTBALL: Battling Horncastle Reserves are denied by last-gasp leveller

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Birchwood United 1 Horncastle Town Reserves 1

Horncastle Town Reserves retained their unbeaten record in the Lincoln and District League table, despite conceding a last-gasp equaliser at rivals Birchwood United on Saturday.

Luke Blondel looked to have clinched all three points for Town when he scored in the 86th minute, but there was still time for Birchwood to level.

Despite the setback, Town held onto second place in the table with Birchwood third.

Town set up with a 4-1-4-1 formation but had to work hard against a lively Birchwood side, which carved out the best of the early chances, but ‘keeper Jason Stamford stood firm.

As the half went on, Town grew in confidence and centre half Scott Maplethorpe was denied by a goal line clearance while Andrew Bullivant saw a curling shot tipped away by the home ‘keeper.

Town replaced Callum Hotchin with Billy Anderson at the start of the second half and started to play some neat football.

Ben Fidling went close from 25-yards, but the Birchwood ‘keeper pulled off a superb save with when the ball destined for the top corner.

Josh Cheetham then shot wide and Anderson also failed to hit the target after a great through ball from Darren Trapmore.

Town made two more changes with Nadir Boulaid and Daniel Bodily coming on and their efforts paid off when Blondel finished from 18-yards after winning a challenge with the ‘keeper.

Unfortunately, the lead was short lived and two minutes later, Stamford was picking the ball out of the back of the net.

It was a disappointing end to the match but Town will be happy to stretch their unbeaten run to five games against one of their likely rivals for top spot.

*The Reserves are at home to Retford Town this Saturday in the David Cooper Cup.

Team: Stamford, Trapmore, Marshall, Maplethorpe, Hotchin (Anderson), Garnett (Bodily), Lamming, Bullivant(N.Boulaid), Cheetham, Fidling, Blondel.