Keeper turns boss as Sleaford Town routed at Rugby Town

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There was another role reversal for Sleaford Town as a depleted Green Army slumped to another heavy defeat on Saturday.

Seven days earlier manager Jamie Shaw had to replace Chris Bennett in goal after the Town keeper was called away at the last minute for work.

And this Saturday Bennett, who has management experience in Nottinghamshire league football returned the favour, taking charge of the team after Shaw was unable to make the trip to Rugby Town.

“Saturday’s match was almost the perfect storm in terms of anything that could go wrong did,” said Shaw.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be at the fixture due to a pre-arranged work conference.

“I had arranged for our reserves manager to cover, but his baby was born eight weeks early on Thursday, great news for him and his family, but obviously making him unavailable for the Saturday.”

Symptomatic of Town’s desperate season so far, a random mishap then made their task harder still.

Shaw added: “Then to compound matters, while I was away on the Friday evening, my phone completely shut down, meaning I had no contacts and no way of knowing if people had messaged me.

“I was able to get a small number of contacts by going back through some emails for signing on details, but I had missed two messages from players saying they would not be available and then we had a further player drop out on the Saturday at late notice.

“With the help of Chris Bennett and Ewan Armstrong we were able to get some of our second team players in at very short notice, and they deserve huge credit for filling in in such difficult circumstances.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Town were beaten 8-0 as Rugby ran in six second-half goals - the second time Town’s threadbare squad has been beaten by this margin in the last three games.

To exacerbate a tough situation, Sleaford also ended the game with 10 men after Taylor Gray was sent off for a shirt pull with 19 minutes left.

“From what I have been told everyone worked as hard as possible, but unfortunately the quality of Rugby told in the end,” Shaw said.

“I’m trying my hardest to bring in players with a more suitable attitude, and greater commitment and reliability, but obviously our position and results do mean attracting players is not an easy job.

“But it’s one I will keep working at for the good of the club.”

Town have lost all 13 games this season and are 13 points adrift of fourth-bottom Desborough in United Counties League Premier.

On Saturday they host 13th-placed Anstey Nomads at Eslaforde park (ko 3pm).