New Mills 2-3 St. Martins
Saturday saw the Saints make one of the longer trips of the season to picturesque New Mills. The home side had started the season well and where top but slipped to 9th but their games always producing goals, Today was to be no different!
The Saints made one enforced change, Top scorer Karl Bailey was forced to miss the trip due to his marathon run the day after, so in came Harrison Millington who had missed last weeks win.
The home side started on the front foot but it was the Saints who had the first real effort with Easthope shooting straight at the keeper. It was Austin next into action after a long range effort was caught in the air and he palmed the ball to safety as it looked to risky to try catch.
On twelve minutes, the man of the game, unfortunately the referee, started his display and gave the home side a penalty. Josh Parker was deemed to foul Lowe in the box, his fall was theatrical but there was contact. Sherriff stepped up and despatched for 1-0.
The Saints responded immediately and won a free kick 20 yards out after a foul on the impressive Price. Graybrook was wasteful and the freekick was poor.
On sixteen minutes, that man in black was centre of attention again, the ball ran towards Austin and was chased by Brooks, there was a 50/50 tackle between them and brooks went down, the linesman signalled penalty, but the referee signalled goal kick. After a discussion, the referee stuck with his original decision. A let off for the Saints but the linesman did seem to try and ref the game off the side all afternoon.
Two minutes later, the scores where level. Price played in Bennett in the left and at the by line, he pulled back the perfect cross to find Millington to score his third goal in three games. 1-1
Five minutes later, there was more drama involving the referee as he awarded another penalty to New Mills in what seemed to be a challenge where Bennett won the ball and it should of been a corner. Sherriff despatched the kick and made it 2-1.
Believe it or not, two minutes later, the referee was at it again, this time awarding St. Martins a penalty for a foul on Price, though it did look potentially outside the box. Jamie Hands stepped up and even though the keeper got a hand to it, he couldnt keep it out. 2-2
The game continued to be a messy affair, Bates and Easthope both picking up bookings (fairly) but The home side where very theatrical in going down and a few times the referee could have booked for simulation. There was also an early change, Graybrook was replaced by Ash, partly through injury and partly tactical.
Half time 2-2
A minute into the second half, The Saints got themselves into the lead for the first time. Tom Ash recieved the ball on the edge of the box and threaded a good ball to the on rushing Melusi who squared for Easthope the force the ball home! A great start to the second half. 2-3
It should of been 2-4 moments later, in a similar move to the third goal but Easthope couldnt take the ball in his path and New Mills scrambled the ball away.
Easthope and Price both had further early chances in the second half but the game started to settle and New Mills grew into it with their midfielder Aaron Kirk having a greater influence.
On 63 minutes, the home side would of equalised if not for a great last ditch tackle by the skipper Josh Parker who got his toe in and deflected the ball just wide for a corner.
With fifteen remaining, the man in the middle was centre of attention again, a horrible tackle on Stuart Dickin, who was again impressing, should of saw Adam Farrend’s afternoon end but he only recieved a booking to the bemusement of the away side.
The Saints had some half chances on the break as the game was coming to a close but couldnt get that cushion needed.
In added time, the New Mills sub McConnell, picked the ball up on the left and smashed a shot from 30 yards, which looked like it was heading to the top corner but luckily for the Saints, it was their day and it smashed the bar and flew away. The whistle went and the Saints made it 25 points from 13 games, with 9 of those games away from home already!
The game was a good contest and New Mills are a good strong team that will take points off good teams over the season. The Saints are learning to win when not at their best and thats a good sign.
The result sees us move to first place in the table but we have played alot more games than some clubs so even though its nice, its not going to be sustained in the short term, especially with no league game until the end of the month now.
All in all and hard fought three points for the lads and we can now enjoy a rare weekend off!