Sleaford Town finish strongly to win crucial Oadby Town six-pointer

George Couzens scored one and had a hand in two other goals as Town clinched an important win at Oadby EMN-180219-130758002
George Couzens scored one and had a hand in two other goals as Town clinched an important win at Oadby EMN-180219-130758002

Sleaford Town put daylight between themselves and the United Counties League drop zone with a big win at bottom side Oadby Town on Saturday.

Having picked up a solitary point from their first 15 league matches on the road, the 4-1 victory in Leicestershire sealed back-to-back away wins.

It was also Town’s fourth win in an eight-match streak which has yielded just two defeats as Jamie Shaw’s side hit form at just the right time.

The result kept them 19th, nine points and two places above second-bottom Northampton Sileby with seven matches to play, and 11 clear of Oadby.

The basement side have five games in hand, but have won just twice in 30 attempts this campaign.

“It’s nice to be looking upwards at the points tallies of the teams above rather than worrying as much about the bottom two,” Shaw said.

“That said, we’re still not mathematically safe and as such we’ll not be getting too big for our boots.”

Sleaford started the game brightly and won a penalty after a quarter-of-an-hour.

With Michael Hayden having had his penalty saved in the reverse fixture, Luke Hollingworth took the responsibility this time, but he pulled his penalty wide.

Hollingworth did not have long to rue the miss, however, when Town hit the front just five minutes later.

Liam Harris, on his return after missing the trip to Wellingborough with illness, arrived at the back post to side-foot home from a George Couzens cross-shot.

But the goal seemed to take the wind out of the Town sails, and Oadby grabbed a deserved equaliser on the stroke of half-time when Sam Burton’s shot hit the foot of the post and rebounded in off keeper Garry Doran.

After a few words were exchanged at half-time, Town came out in better spirits for the second half.

The game remained even up to the hour mark, but the visitors claimed the crucial next goal when Hayden got the faintest of touches to Couzens’ right-wing cross.

The lead quickly became 3-1 when a half-clearance fell to Charlie Hart and the 16-year-old volleyed home his first goal for the club from 20 yards.

Town brought on Tom Figura and Jacob Fenton, and their work rate and pace stretched the game further.

And it was they who combined to set up Couzens for a well-deserved goal of his own.

Next up for Sleaford is a trip to 15th-placed Northampton ON Chenecks on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).