Goalkeeper nets late winner as Sleaford Town sink top-five Eynesbury

Liam Hargrave netted the second equaliser as Sleaford made it three games unbeaten in the league EMN-181029-122830002
Liam Hargrave netted the second equaliser as Sleaford made it three games unbeaten in the league EMN-181029-122830002

A Sleaford Town decimated by injuries defied the odds as a spectacular winner from goalkeeper Chris Adams saw off top-five side Eynesbury on Saturday.

Town were on top for much of the second half, but the United Counties League Premier match looked destined for stalemate with the two teams locked at 2-2 going into the final minutes.

But with just four minutes on the clock, Adams launched a long kick which gathered speed after bouncing on the edge of their area and ended in the roof of the Rovers net.

Manager Jamie Shaw had a few selection headaches to solve before kick-off with Charlie Ward and Sam Greenwood both suspended, Archie Moyses and Simon Bolland injured and Ben Greenwood, Leigh Warman, Glen Shepherd, Luke Hollingworth and George Asplin all unavailable due to either work or holidays.

Brad Hockin made his first start of the season after injury difficulties, while Liam Harris played for the first time in more than a month and Michael Hayden was switched from his forward role to left wing-back.

Things didn’t look good as the match began in bitterly cold and wet conditions, with Town falling behind inside six minutes when Callum Milne headed in from a free-kick.

The visitors almost doubled their lead after 18 minutes when they struck the post from a corner.

But Sleaford hauled themselves level through Scott Coupland’s penalty midway through the half after Couzens had been brought down when clean through following good work from Hayden and Harris.

Town began to look the stronger, but the visitors always looked dangerous from the set piece and went back in front after 32 minutes when a free-kick deflected in off Harry Millard.

But Shaw’s side were level once more four minutes from half-time when a well-rehearsed corner routine saw Liam Hargrave touch home Brad Hockin’s cross.

After an action-packed first half, there were fewer clear sights of goal after the break with Millard’s good strike well saved.

An injury to the linesman brought a delay in proceedings, but Town remained on top after the impromptu break without creating a gilt-edged chance until Adams’ dramatic winner which moved them up to eighth.

Shaw said: “It was fantastic to get a win against tough opposition, and I felt on the balance of play it was deserved.

“Eynesbury caused us problems in the first half with their delivery from set-pieces, but we showed great character to twice come from behind and continue creating chances.

“I felt we were on top for most of the second half without creating anything too clear cut, and in the end it was slightly fortuitous when we scored our winner.

“It was particularly pleasing because the conditions were terrible, and we were decimated with injuries and unavailability going up against a really good side.”

Ward is suspended for three more games and Bolland is out for the season, but Shaw expects to welcome back several players for Town’s trip to Peterborough Northern Star on Tuesday (ko 7.45pm) following Sleaford are unbeaten in three league matches after a blank weekend.