Louth Town reserves lost 3-1 to Gainsborough Town for the second time in 11 days.
The teams were the same, the final score was the same and the match was played in a similar fashion. The one thing which was noticeably different was Town’s personnel.
No fewer than 46 players have represented Town’s reserves at least once this season – including four goalkeepers. On this occasion there were seven changes to the previous starting line up fielded versus Skegness Town. Karl Shackleton, Luke Burton and Dave Pawson were the only ones to have featured in the reverse fixture last month.
Town were forced to borrow some members of the Louth Town A team including debutants Bradley Coulam, Liam Stainton and Dan Marsh (not to be confused with Danny Marshall). Despite this Stainton and Marsh were the only substitutes available.
Jack Burton resigned as manager on Wednesday and assistant manager, Shawn Dodge, was absent so not even the management was the same.
Eddie Clark who is the chairman of Louth Town FC took over on the touchline as no permanent replacement has been found yet. Many clubs would have said they couldn’t raise a team and forfeited – not the White Wolves though.
As for the opening 45 minutes, it was evenly contested and there were a couple of clear chances at both ends. Adam Coddington threaded the ball through to Chris Ella and the latter saw his one-on-one well saved before the hosts missed a sitter. A corner kick was swung in from the right and volleyed wide from barely 3 yards.
The flukiest of goals put Town ahead less than a minute into the second half. Ella charged down the goalkeeper whose attempted clearance bounced off him and into the goal. Everything Ella touches goes in the back of the net and this was proven yet again.
Instead of allowing their heads to drop Gainsborough improved after conceding and were level before long. A couple of their efforts narrowly missed before a striker was played in and kept his composure to slot in the equalizer.
Stainton made his debut under unfortunate circumstances replacing Ella who limped off due to injuring his knee. Once Ella had been taken off things went pear shaped for Town and they conceded twice in quick succession. The scorer of the first goal burst down the right wing and cut the ball back for a team mate to fire in. Next a free kick in a central position was drilled into the top right corner leaving Ben Smith without a hope. Between those goals a cross from the left somehow came back of the woodwork and Town had had a disastrous 10 minutes.
Things could have gone from bad to worse late on had it not been for Smith between the sticks and a poor finish. Smith pulled off a couple of excellent diving saves before the scorer of the free kick raced clear and completely fluffed his lines in front of goal. That player and his team mates could see the funny side of it – not to mention Town’s army of travelling supporters!
With time almost up Smith produced another terrific save. An attacker had dribbled his way through from the right and lashed the ball towards the far corner. Smith did brilliantly to get his fingertips to the ball and kept it out.
A patched up Town side with an average age of barely 21 had given everything they’d got, however, Gainsborough were a bit too strong for them on the day. Every one of them did about as well as each other and it was hard to say who the man of the match was. Craig Dalton got the nod because he did a fine job of being skipper in Sam Hallett’s absence and ran tirelessly for 90 minutes even though he’d only partially recovered from a knee injury.
Town were going to play Skegness United on Tuesday evening, but that one has been postponed. This means their next fixure is on Saturday November 17 at home to Boston United reserves in the Lincs league. It kicks off at 2pm and Eddie Clark is likely to be in charge again – unless, of course, he finds a new full time manager.
The caretaker manager, Eddie Clark, had his say, “This was an excellent display from a make shift team who wants to play at their highest level. Unfortunately the rest of the squad did not show the same commitment. We took control for 70 minutes and could easily have won it.”