With The Lockmen reduced in numbers by injury, suspensions and defections, one new signing and two returning strikers plus manager Mattie Whitehouse ensured three substitutes were available for what had turned into a six-pointer.
The Lockmen made a fine start to the game with skipper Mikey Robertson sending a dangerous free-kick into the box which was headed clear on three minutes. Five minutes later a good break forwards from Shaquille Oligitere saw the ball run for Jason Hewitt who sent in a first time lob which keeper Ben Czerepaninec held. On nine minutes the visitors saw their first effort, a weak effort from Saimonas Burksaitis trickle onto the post and bounce back into Ben Holden’s hands. Alex Carlin was next to show on ten minutes, breaking down the right before getting in a low cross-shot which he keeper held at his near post. After 12 minutes, a clever ball from Hewitt almost let Carlin in, however the keeper just beat him to a ball lofted over the defence and into the area. Joe Bullock fired high and wide on 13 minutes for Welly Ams before Oligitere did well to chase and win a loose ball two minutes later, this time he was crowded out with support struggling to reach him. Carlin again found space on the wing on 16 minutes but his ball into the box was just too strong for his team-mates whilst Oligitere took an early shot after 18 minutes which again flew at Czerepaninec. Tom Bradley then had a crack at goal with 19 minutes on the clock for the visitors, again the strike flew high and wide of the target. With 21 minutes played Oligitere lifted a clever ball into the edge of the area which found Hewitt in enough space to force a save from the keeper before Oligitere’s next ball into the box again had too much power on it. With 22 minutes played the expected goal finally arrived, but not at the end you would have thought likely as the visitors took the lead. A ball into the area from deep on the right was badly sliced by Brodie Millington and to his, and everybody else’s surprise, the ball trickled just inside the post for the opening goal. The goal appeared to derail The Reds for a while, and the visitors forced a corner before Burksaitis did well to break from inside his own half and made it into the area before firing wide under pressure from Graham Ashton. Holden was then forced into his first meaningful save when he did well to touch a Millington effort onto the bar with 27 minutes gone. Holden did well to save one on one on 29 minutes before a break down the right saw three players converge on Holden. Millington should have shot, instead he passed forward to his team-mate and the goal was ruled out for a silly off-side. Holden then made another decent save on 35 minutes with the follow up shot blocked for a corner. If the first goal was a bad one to concede the second which arrived nine minutes before the break was worse. A long ball in from right out on the left wing was left by everybody, including the keeper, only for Sam Goucher to arrive beyond the far post totally unmarked to fire home.
Tony Clift replaced Oligitere who had done a sterling job as the lone striker first-half for the resumption but the first action of the second-half saw a booking for Ashton for a crunching tackle seconds after the restart. Hewitt fired at the keeper again on 47 minutes as the hosts looked for a way back in to the game. A minute later Chris Milliard hit a good strike from a free-kick 30 yards out, but it was straight at the keeper. Matt Dove then fired over for Town before a couple of free-kicks caused problems just before the hour mark for Ams, but they were eventually cleared to safety. The next one, from Milliard from out on the right wing on the hour, saw Ashton put in a fine header as he lost his marker, however, the ball was an inch wide when it had looked as if he would find the corner of the net. Scott Harris was introduced on 66 minutes for Hewitt and his first touch seconds later brought an excellent save from Czerepaninec. His second touch on 68 minutes forced another good save and from the rebound Clift hooked just wide. Harris then won a corner which Clift found space but his header looped and dropped too late, landing on the roof of, rather than in the net. On 72 minutes The Lockmen really should have had a penalty when Matt Dorgan was clearly held back. Robertson then saw a free-kick with a quarter of an hour to go produce two blocked attempts and the third effort a fine save as nothing appeared to be going right for The Lockmen. Millington then wasted a chance from a half-cleared corner on 79 minutes for the visitors. Carlin was then booked for an innocuous foul with Dorgan still in the official’s ear about some of his decisions before a comical third goal near the death finished an afternoon to forget on 90 minutes. Burksaitis lobbed Holden when the keeper should have reacted quicker to a through ball, it bounced in front of goal, avoiding a covering defender, hit the underside of the bar, and again avoided all attempts to clear as it spun wickedly and bounced into the goal.
All in all not n afternoon to remember for The Lockmen.