With The Lockmen down to their last fit eleven players, they put in a brave performance before being undone by two goals in the last quarter of the game. They had their high-flying visitors on the rack for long spells and deserved at least a point for their efforts.
The home side were first to threaten, new signing Jordan Lovell winning and then taking a fourth minute corner which was headed clear at the near post by the Sports defence. Skipper Dan Bryson then saw his header fly straight to Joe Siddaway in the visitor’s goal before the Greens saw a header straight at Ben Holden at the other end after nine minutes. A minute later Lovell attacked again, this time his attempted cross was blocked by the first defender. Matt Dorgan then hit just wide from 25 yards on 16 minutes. Ten minutes on and Sports danger man Shepherd Machingauta then showed his speed in escaping his marker but there were no team mates in the area when he crossed. The Lockmen then won successive corners on 28 minutes, the second being headed clear by Matt Hanson at the near post. With six minutes to go to half-time the first real chance of the game was created by the home side when Lovell again made a clever run and cross into the edge of the six yard box. Jamie Nugent hit a clever shot towards the far top corner but Green’s keeper Siddaway was able to push it away from goal. Nugent then showed his willingness to work when chasing down what looked like a lost cause on 42 minutes as he bundled a defender off the ball and got in a right foot effort which was only a yard wide of the near post. Straight from the kick out The Reds attacked again and Siddaway had to be off his line sharply to grab the ball off Nugent’s toe. There was one moment of danger a minute from the break when the swirling wind almost caught out home keeper Holden but he punched well clear and the danger was averted.
Six minutes after the restart and The Lockmen thought they had broken the deadlock when a long free-kick appeared to bounce in the box before finding the back of the net, however the assistant’s flags cut short the celebrations of what looked a legal goal. Ross Clarke then saw an effort blocked on 53 before two successive corners were forced in the 57th minute. From the second of these Clarke curled a clever effort just over. A minute past the hour and Josh Taylor made good ground before firing just wide. Six minutes later Lloyd Sanders did well to create space for a chip into the box from the right hand side and Lovell rose well and was desperately unlucky to see his header hit the underside of the bar and bounce clear. The Lockmen had a 68th minute corner, taken by Clarke but it was inches too high for Nugent at the far post. The visitors broke the deadlock against the run of play on 69 minutes when a mis-timed lunge from Bryson saw a clean break and when Lewis Craig received the ball to the right of goal he fired well into the far corner after a hopelessly exposed Holden. Ashfall did well to break down the left as he muscled his way through the defence before finding Clarke with a clever ball. Unfortunately his effort was beyond the far post on 77 minutes. A free-kick on 81 minutes was well held by the Sports keeper before two desperate attempts to block Nugent shots were successful in preventing a deserved Lockmen equaliser with a minute to play. The Reds then nearly levelled from a corner in the final few seconds of normal time before Sports subs Reece Jacobs picked out Craig with a clever cross and he headed home his second goal to settle the game two minutes into injury-time.