FOOTBALL: Sleaford Town triumph in topsy-turvy opening match

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United Counties League

Premier Division

Sleaford Town 4

Cogenhoe Unites 2

It was a good start to the season as won in a topsy-turvy match.

But Sleaford fell behind early on as Jack Bowen scored for Cogenhoe after the ball came to him off the post.

Fortunately this deficit did not last long as Ryan Oliver climbed high to meet a long free kick from Adam Fenton.

However, more poor defending led to Cogenhoe almost immediately retaking the lead as Alfie Taylor outpaced Adam Fenton, before sliding the ball past goalkeeper Phil McGann.

After this, the game settled down to something approaching a period of normality and Town regained their compusure a little.

In the 17th minute, parity was once more restored and again it came via the source of Oliver’s head as he glanced home a quality Luke Hollingworth set-piece.

Perhaps the key incident in determining the final result happened shortly before half time as Cogenhoe’s Luke Emery reacted strongly to an innocuous challenge on him and was sent off for violent conduct.

After half time, Cogenhoe, as often is the case for teams with 10 men, dropped deep and attempted to hit on the counter-attack, which put the game into something of a lull.

It was with some relief then when Bradley Hockin struck home from 20-plus yards. It was not the cleanest strike but it was in the corner and more importantly it ended up nestling in the net.

Shortly after this, Sleaford were awarded a penalty when Elliott Price’s bucanneering run resulted in him being pulled back as he was about to pull the trigger. Hockin confidently srtuck the resulting spot-kick into the bottom corner.

Far from being a vintage performance, it nevertheless garnered three always valuable points and set up a good platform to get the team’s season up and running.

l Sleaford visit Holbeach United in the league tonight (Wednesday, 7.45pm), whilst their FA Cup campaign begins with a trip to Radford on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.