FOOTBALL: Louth Town Reserves suffer another narrow defeat

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Louth Town Reserves 1-0 Ruston Sports

Ruston Sports edged a tight midweek match and won 1-0 thanks to a goal by Ben Clucas.

Town have lost by just one goal for the sixth time this season. On this occasion it was 1-0 in a midweek game at home to Ruston Sports.

In the reverse fixture Town lost 7-1 back in September. The club have come a long way since then and are no longer struggling for players or losing heavily.

Ruston began at a high tempo with their top scorers Joe Smith, Gavin Mackie and Joe Butler all looking menacing in the final third. Town’s defence dealt with them well making some crucial blocks and interceptions.

As Town began to improve Dave Deane had a free kick saved by Phil McGann. He also came close with a powerful strike that whistled wide of the left post.

On the half hour mark Ruston’s Chris Nuttall crossed to Mackie, whose header was saved by Robbie Aldrich. Soon afterwards the visitors broke the deadlock through Clucas.

Smith released Dave Coyde on the right and he fired in a low cross. Clucas had ghosted in round the back and was left with a simple tap in at the far post.

Moments after the restart Deane raced clear and looked poised to equalize until he was bundled over by Steven John. The referee should have awarded a free kick to Town and dismissed John for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity – instead he gave nothing.

Rocky Rawlings and Jake Marshall were both booked in quick succession before half time. Town had put up a good fight in the first half, but conceded a goal that could have been avoided.

Shortly after the interval Joe Butler’s effort deflected off Jake Marshall and was tipped over by Aldrich. Aldrich then saved a shot by Nuttall before pulling off the save of the match.

It came in the 66th minute when Smith ran onto Jake Keyworth’s through ball and Aldrich rushed out to brilliantly save his one-on-one.

At the other end Gary Nimmo had a powerful strike blocked by Lee Pickering in a crowded penalty box. Moments later Nimmo swung in a free kick from the right and Rawlings connected with a header that flew wide of the right post.

In the last few minutes Smith dribbled into the box and was denied by another terrific save from Aldrich. Then with seconds remaining Bradley Coulam made an excellent last ditch tackle on Butler to ensure the final score was only 1-0.

Ruston have scored many goals this season and are very dangerous going forward. However, they only managed one goal against Town due to fantastic saves by Aldrich and some great defending.

Ben Humphrey was reasonably satisfied. He said: “Ruston Sports are a good team and we matched them in every department.

“A draw would have been a fair result and we would have got it if we hadn’t let in a cheap goal. Apart from that goal our defence played very well though – particularly Bradley Coulam who was man of the match.

“We are better than we were at the beginning of the season when they beat us 7-1. Lincs League teams will realize we are no pushover and can compete at this high level.”

Town (4-4-2): Aldrich; King, B.Coulam (c), J.Marshall, Johnson (Ella 46); Nimmo, P.Coulam, Buck (D.Marshall 62), Rawlings; James (Coddington 77), Deane.