The Lockmen produced a stunning performance first-half but failed to re-appear after the break as they lost away to Ellesmere Rangers.
Andre Calder set up the first chance of the game for the visitors when his clever ball out to Chadd Birch on the left wing saw himwin the game’s first corner. This was taken short and found player-manager Mark Habbershaw in the box and his low shot produced another corner. The third flag-kick was headed clear but then recycled back into th box where another corner was rewarded. This time Curtis Ellis’ effort was blocked and cleared. The Lockmen then won a third minute free-kick before Calder burst into the box by out-muscling four defenders, but he was eventually crowded out. KyleT hompson fired over on four minuteswith a brilliant effort. Rangers won a free-kick of their own on seven minutes but Ryan Jones it the visitng wall. Thompson then broke down the wing and slung over a wodserful cross which flew across the face of goal. Alex causer then won a fierce challenge on 11 minutes to feed Chadd Birch, again the outcome was a header. Mark Habbershaw just cleared the home bar on 11 minutes before the home side forced a corner. Stuart Curwen then produced a fine save on 16 minutes, the follow-up was blazed high over howeve. On 20 minutes The Lockmen finakky got he oal they deseverved when Chadd Birch worked the channes, played the ball through to Ellis, who in turn found Habbershaw to fire perfectly across the keeper. A minute later and the two strikers combined again, Birch being set-up by Habbershawonly for his lob to beat the keeper but not Rangers skipper Sean Griffiths as he raced back to clear spectacularly off his own goal-line. Thompson was then denied by an unbeliievable save by the keeper on the half-hour. Chad Birch was denied as the keeper dived the wrong way shortly after before Sam Brook also saw an effort well saved. On 37 minutes Lucan Spittle then hit a ball from 1ong range which was well fielded by home keeper damien Stevens. On 39 minutes the visitors got hit by a sucker punch as a corner was curled over, Spittle appeared to see his man escape and with the keeper staying at home Grant Butler headed home unmarked from close in.
Whatever The Lockmen had used to start the first-half was sadly missing and on 50 minutes a ball over the left back saw a cross in from Josh Brown and Judd Ellis fired home from close range. Five minutes later a good block by Curwen kept the lead at 2-1 Rangers with a fine save. The home keeper was happy to grab Curtis Ellis’ cross on 62 minutes before The Reds won another corner. When the ball was cleared out of the box a soft free-kick went the way of the visitors and Habbershaw stepped up to curl a delightful free-kick into the wall before blazing the second over on 63minutes. Substitute Danny Sedgwick then came on for his debut and his first mark was to send a shot clear of the bar on 74 minutes. two minutes later and The Lockmen were level after a superb effort from Habbershaw’s low free-kick gave the keeper no chance. However, a minute later and another ball down the right saw Brown picked out again and his first time cross was netted by Ryan Jones. Remie Birch then did superbly to watch the ball rather than Brown’s footwork and tackled superbly to dispossess in a dangerous position. With nine minutes left Brown again motored down the right wing and again picked out Jones who netted his second and his side’s fourth of the day.
Match report by Chris Burton.