Horncastle Town 3 Ruston Sports 5
Mickey Stones believes his Horncastle Town squad need to lose their ‘small town mentality’ after suffering a 5-3 defeat to Ruston Sports on Saturday.
The Wongers will spend Christmas on top of the Lincolnshire League, but it is only their superior goal difference which sees them sitting above the weekend’s opponents.
In a topsy-turvy contest, Rustons moved into a 2-0 lead before the Wongers turned the game on its head thanks to a brace from Ben Fidling and Luke Blondel’s goal.
But after conceding a penalty and seeing Elliott Andrew dismissed for dissent, Town struggled to match their in-form opposition and were downed with two late hammer blows.
“It was a disappointing result,” said Town joint-boss Mickey Stones, who believes his squad need to get tougher when it comes to individual battles.
“We were dreadful in the first half and could have been four or five down. We couldn’t compete.
“We had a bit of a problem ability-wise. Sometimes we don’t seem to be able to compete physically.
“We don’t always have the same desire as some of the other teams, like Rustons, Wyberton and Immingham.
“We’ve got a bit of a small-town mentality and we need to be a bit more streetwise.”
Callum Dye and Alex Mackinder put Rustons into a comfortable 2-0 lead.
“We got a goal to keep us in it and in the second half we were a different side,” Stones added.
“We started winning everything and went 3-2 up.
“I don’t normally blame the referees but two decisions changed the game.
“The ref gave a penalty for handball against Elliott Andrew, but his hand was by his side. It wasn’t deliberate.
“Then Elliott got sent off for dissent.
“The penalty was saved and pushed wide but it was put back in and the lad who scored was well offside, but they seemed to miss that.
“We were down to 10 men and at 3-3 we couldn’t really hang on.”
It was Mackinder who netted the visitors’ third to level things up.
Rustons manager Jordan Mackinder netted the winner with his first touch after being introduced off the bench, before completing his brace deep into stoppage time.