Horncastle Town Reserves 2 Cherry Willingham 3
Town’s Reserves missed the chance to seal fourth place in the Lincoln and District League table when they lost their penultimate game of the season at home to Cherry Willingham on Saturday.
Manager Andrew Fenn was forced to ring the changes after last week’s win against Lincoln Moorlands and unfortunately, it was a game where they never got going.
Town trailed 3-1 at the break and despite a much improved second half, they failed to collect any points and even missed a penalty.
From the opening exchanges, it became clear there would be plenty of goals and Cherry duly took the lead in the seventh minute when one of their players was left unmarked to head in a corner.
Town struggled to get into their stride and it took them 20 minutes to produce their first shot on target.
That stemmed from a one-on-one save by their own ‘keeper Jason Stamford. The ball rebounded for Town to play out of defence and Ryan Beaumont crossed for Danny Bent to volley narrowly wide. Only two minutes later, Town were level. Andrew Bullivant played a ball through to Beaumont to slot across the ‘keeper from 15-yards.
The goal was against the run of play and Cherry were using their pace to cause Town all sorts of problems at the back.
Stamford was again called into action to parry a goal-bound shot out for a corner and minutes later, he smothered another one-on-one chance.
Cherry delivered a hammer blow in the 40th minute when they went 3-1 up after taking advantage of some more poor defending.
Town did have a half chance just before the half time whistle when they won a corner and some excellent movement by Jamie Lamming created some space at the back post, but he headed just over.
The second half kicked off with Town looking more positive. Within minutes, they had halved the arrears.
Bent received the ball and using some quick feet, he found time to play in Luke Blondel, who coolly finished to the ‘keeper’s right hand post.
With Town now pushing forward to get that equaliser they were left exposed at the back and again Stamford was called into action.
In the space of two minutes, he produced two excellent saves to deny Cherry and keep his side in with a chance of salvaging something from the game.
Town did have a chance to level with a hotly disputed penalty. Leading scorer Luke Blondel stepped up but blasted high over the bar from 12-yards.
With 10 minutes left, Lee Wilson replaced Callum Hotchin to try and support the front two players.
In the last few seconds, Wilson did well to spin and unleash a low shot which the keeper held on to.
Town are still fourth in the table and will be looking to end their season on a high when they entertain against Crown and Arrows at home next Saturday (ko: 3pm).
Team: Stamford, Bodily, Garnett, Lewis, Hotchin (Wilson), Cheetham, Lamming, Bullivant, Beaumont, Blondel, Bent. Unused sub: Wood