United Counties League Premier Division
Long Buckby 1 Sleaford Town 3
By Lloyd Harmston
AT the fourth time of asking, Town collected a first league win with this very satisfying win away at Long Buckby, the current champions who are struggling this term. As a result of these three points, the Sleaford club climbs the table to 16th place.
The Town squad was somewhat stretched. Nick Bishop and Tony Edwards were suspended, Jamie McCormack, Tom Sargeant and Jason Sedlan were injured, while Adam Fenton and Adam Weston were on holiday. Micky Stones injured his foot at work and waits to find out whether or not it is broken, and Charlie Ward is away at university.
Manager Glen Maddison brought Shaun Popple back into the starting line-up although Ryan Oliver curiously remained as team skipper. Young Harry Millard made a start as did Steve Lovett for the first time this season.
In the very first minute Oliver missed a clear chance from a Luke Hollingworth cross from the left. Another Hollingworth delivery brought a header by Millard which the keeper saved well.
From the resultant corner by Hollingworth, Oliver headed just over the bar. Hollingworth continued his influence with a through ball down the middle but this time it was Ash Murrell who shot tamely wide with only the keeper to beat. Oliver took a knock on 26 minutes and was replaced by Liam Tunstall.
A goal had to come and on 41 minutes Tunstall broke the deadlock, netting with a half-volley from a long throw by Rawdon to make it 1-0. However, a minute before the break the home side levelled through Rawlings.
Six minutes into the second period the home keeper brought down Tunstall to earn a yellow card and give away a penalty which was duly despatched by Tunstall (1-2).
Millard came close from a Tunstall pass but the young man did find the net on 77 minutes. A free-kick by Richard Jackson was headed across the box by Joe Braithwaite and there was Millard to score his maiden goal for the club (1-3).
It was a good all-round team display with stand-out performances from Braithwaite, Hollingworth, Murrell and Jackson. It was the first success for Town over this opposition in eleven attempts, while the game saw the two-hundredth appearance for defender Kris Jones. Most satisfying was the lack of yellow cards.
Team: Andy Hewitt, Nathan Rawdon, Steve Lovett, Kris Jones, Joe Braithwaite, Shaun Popple, Ashley Murrell, Richard Jackson, Ryan Oliver, Harry Millard, Luke Hollingworth. Subs: J Shaw, L Tunstall, L Llewellyn, G Maddison, A Ross