FOOTBALL: Horncastle Reserves edged out in seven goal thriller

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Horncastle Town Reserves 3-4 RM Imp

Horncastle Town Reserves welcomed league leaders RM Imp to The Wong trying to dent their 100% record.

Town made a numerous changes from their previous match bringing in Scott Maplethorpe, Steve Lovett, Andrew Shinn, Gareth Melia and James Melia.

Town made a bright start in a 4-4-2 formation and capitalised on a defensive error. Ryan Beaumont intercepted a ball that was played across the back line and coolly rounded the ‘keeper to make it 1-0.

It was a game played end to end with both teams using their strong attacking options. Chances were being created by both teams, but the final ball was lacking at both ends.

It wasn’t until two minutes before half time that RM Imp equalised. The ball was played down the Imps right flank and the winger found himself with only Town ‘keeper Jason Stamford to beat. Stamford made a superb double handed save, but the ball bounced up for Lee Beesley to head into an empty net. This was a blow to Town as they had kept the Imps to long distance efforts up until then.

Town replaced Ryan Beaumont with Daniel Bodily at half time due to an injury. RM Imp came out firing in the 2nd half. Within two minutes of the kick off they had taken the lead. Ian Tinkler hitting an unstoppable shot into the top left corner of the goal.

However, Town were not in a mood for giving in and made an instant reply. Steve Lovett rolled the ball into the feet of Blondel on the edge of the area. He rode a tackle before hitting a powerful shot into the top right hand corner of the goal leaving the Imps ‘keeper stranded.

Town were now having a 10 minute period of dominating the midfield area but couldn’t capitalise against a resilient Imp defence. The nearest Town came was a run from leading scorer Luke Blondel who weaved around two players, the post however helping the visitors on this occasion.

Jason Stamford in the Town goal was fortunate to stay on the pitch. The referee had deemed him to handle the ball out of his area, but only produced a yellow card. The resulting free kick was hit high and wide by Joe Ayres.

The next attack by the Lincoln side also produced a free kick on the edge of the box. This time Joe Ayres made no mistake. He hit a bullet free-kick that Jason Stamford could only palm into the roof of the net.

Town hit back within minutes. With his weaker left foot, Daniel Bodily hit a lovely cross from the right and Gareth Melia rose highest to head into the bottom corner.

The action now was mainly played in the midfield area. Daniel Bodily received a yellow card for what seemed a nothing challenge and Andrew Bullivant replaced Ben Fidling on the left.

The game now was there to be won and both teams were going in search of all three points, but it was the RM Imp who scored the deciding goal. The ball was bouncing around in the Town area, when it was cleared away by Gareth Melia, only for the ball to fortunately hit Elliott Dye on the knee and roll agonisingly past Jason Stamford and the Town defence into the bottom corner.

In the final minutes Town changed to a 3-4-3 formation looking for an equaliser. Scott Maplethorpe found himself running to the left of the penalty area, only to be brought down by the onrushing ‘keeper. Despite being wide of the goal the referee saw it as a goalscoring opportunity and it was a surprise to both teams when the ‘keeper was shown a red card. Imp were infuriated by the decision and were reduced to nine when another of their players was shown red after disputing the decision with the referee.

With this being the last kick of the game Town threw everyone into the box. The resulting free kick was well defended and the referee blew up for full time.

Manager Andrew Fenn said “I’m obviously disappointed with the result. To lose from a deflected goal when we had matched a team with a 100% league record is hard to take, but I cannot fault the effort and determination everyone showed today.

“A little bit of luck and we’d of got a draw which I think we at least deserved.”

The Reserves’ next match is away at Retford Town on Saturday January 17.