Brigg Town Reserves 0
Horncastle Town 1
Horncastle Town secured their first league win of the season courtesy of a Richard Jackson penalty towards the end of the first half.
But this was the proverbial game of two halves with Town’s excellence in the first half matched by their ineptitude in the second.
Town soon started to create chances and both Scott Lowman and Carl Smith saw low shots saved by the keeper at his near post.
Town’s back four were rarely troubled as they continued to press and Steve Lovett and Andrew Shinn got forward at every opportunity as Horncastle completely dominated proceedings.
Ollie Johnson fired over and Richard Jackson should have done better when the ball was pulled back to the edge of the box by Smith. Nathan Rawdon’s cross just eluded Lowman and Robbie Fixter saw his shot blocked after a determined run.
Town were playing some fine football with Chris Johnson and Steve Brown instigating proceedings from the back and after half an hour they were awarded a penalty after the Brigg full-back handled a Chris Johnson header on the line. The hosts were reduced to 10 men as a result but Ollie Johnson’s spot kick was well saved by the keeper.
Despite this setback, Town continued to dominate and when Scott Lowman was tripped in the box a second penalty was despatched by Jackson to give the visitors the lead.
Richard could have doubled Town’s advantage just before the break but his downward header lacked the power to beat the keeper.
Town failed to play with the same fluency after the break and as the half progressed Brigg sensed they could get a surprise result. A number of stoppages did not help the flow of the game and an injury to Andrew Shinn early in the half meant a reshuffle with Nathan Rawdon dropping to right-back and Tom Hodson coming on down the right, but Town were still creating chances. Hodson fired wide after good work from Fixter and Lowman and Scott fired straight at the keeper after good link-up play with Jackson.
Richard should then have secured the win after Scott Lowman’s shot had been well saved, and Hodson did well to pull the loose ball back across goal but Jackson side footed over from six yards.
The home side worked hard and playing long balls forward to their front two who were lively, and Town’s back four had to remain alert.
Keeper Lewis Burchnall had been a virtual spectator in the first half but he had to come off his line and sweep on a number of occasions as Brigg looked to get in behind Town’s defence.
Ben Fidling and Danny Bent were both introduced as Town looked to re-establish their authority, and Danny almost made an immediate impact when his first time shot on the turn went just wide. Ben had a positive effect down the left and his well struck shot forced a great save from Brigg’s keeper who played well throughout.
With Town continuing to be wasteful in the final third, the home side had a great chance to equalise after Nathan Rawdon’s clearance hit Steve Brown and rebounded into his path, but to Town’s relief he fired wide.
Keeper Burchnall made a couple of routine saves as Brigg pushed forward and in the final minute they were awarded a free kick just outside the area after Steve Lovett was penalised, but Burchnall again saved comfortably to ensure Town hung on to their narrow advantage.
Town’s second half showing will be a concern to manager Paul Johnson given how well they passed the ball in the first half, but a clean sheet away from home is always pleasing and hopefully performances will improve in forthcoming weeks when Town have a full squad of players to choose from.
Town have no game on Saturday but Lewis Burchnall, Chris Johnson, Andrew Shinn and Michael Harness have all been included in the Lincs League representative squad which plays Staffordshire at Sleaford.
Horncastle Town: Burchnall, Lovett, Shinn (Hodson), Brown, C. Johnson, O. Johnson, Rawdon, Jackson, Lowman, Smith (Bent), Fixter (Fidling).