Sleaford Town thrash title-chasing Leicester Nirvana

Player-manager Jamie Shaw's third goal of the season doubled Town's lead EMN-170412-182029002
Player-manager Jamie Shaw's third goal of the season doubled Town's lead EMN-170412-182029002

Sleaford Town manager Jamie Shaw has urged his team to use Saturday’s stunning win over high-flying Leicester Nirvana as a springboard to better things.

Town have spent all season in the United Counties League Premier relegation zone after a turbulent pre-season and miserable start.

A recent upturn in fortunes was tarnished by five straight defeats, but Sleaford ended that unwanted run in spectacular fashion as the early season leaders were thrashed 5-1 at Eslaforde Park.

Town’s third win of the season moved them to within a point of escaping the bottom three, and player-manager Shaw now wants his players to move away from danger as soon as possible.

“Our position in the league is still precarious,” he warned. “We need to use Saturday’s performance to act as a springboard and keep us moving up the table into a position we believe more correctly reflects the ability within the squad.

“But to do that we’ll have to continue to improve our game management and nouse.”

Shaw had begun the season hoping to spend most of it in the dugout, but was forced to make his fifth start of the campaign for the visit of third-placed Nirvana after losing his two leading scorers.

George Couzens was recalled by parent club Spalding United, and Tom Figura was unavailable.

But Town made light of their absence as Liam Harris opened the scoring after just nine minutes.

Shaw rolled back the years to double the lead 10 minutes later, and Michael Hayden scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-0 within 25 minutes.

The home fans had seen their team lose leads several times this season, but Andy Chadwick calmed any nerves with a fourth 10 minutes after the break.

Hayden added his second with 18 minutes left, and not even second-half sub James Bessey-Saldanha’s late consolation could take the gloss off Town’s biggest win of the season.

The result may have come out of the blue to many, but to Shaw it had been coming.

“It was a cracking result and one we felt we fully deserved,” he added. “We gave ourselves the right platform to play.

“Too often this season we have played well for the majority of matches, but errors at crucial times have meant we have been chasing the game or conceded late on and we’ve not got full value for our level of performances.

“On Saturday that didn’t happen and we were able to reap the rewards.”

Their rebuilding job continues at Eslaforde Park on Saturday when mid-table Desborough are the visitors (kick-off 3pm).

Desborough have lost just once away from home this season and edged the reverse fixture 2-1.