LOUTH Town thrashed Grimsby Borough 5-0 at Park Avenue on Monday to continue their march up the league table and make it back-to-back wins against their local rivals.
A four-goal haul by striker Steve Norton and another from winger Jamie Coulson completed the rout after the visitors’ goalkeeper was dismissed early on.
The game was marred though by a horrific leg break to White Wolves striker Jamie Rowbotham late on, the frontman had only recently returned to the side after sustaining the same injury in August 2010.
A late Jamie Coulson goal on Tuesday night had earned Louth a hard fought 2-1 win at Borough in the first of this festive double header, and Paul Walden’s men were looking to extend their great recent form.
The game was only able to go ahead after hard work from the club’s committee members to clear up the remains of one of the sheds at Park Avenue which had been gutted by an arson attack in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
The hosts began the game as they’d finished their previous outing, hauling themselves into the lead after just four minutes through Norton. The striker latched onto James Archer’s weighted through ball before slotting past the advancing goalkeeper.
And on 15 minutes came the turning point in the game. Borough goalkeeper Miles Fenty felled Norton as he went through on goal; the referee pointed to the spot and gave the ‘keeper his marching orders.
With no substitute goalkeeper it was up to striker Luke Beecham to go between the sticks. And his first touch was to pick the ball out of the net as Norton picked himself up and buried the resulting spot-kick.
The ten men of Borough were struggling to gain any foothold in the game and found themselves on the back foot for much of the first half. Their only real opening came when Lee Stephenson and ex-Grimsby Town winger Josh Fuller combined to create a chance for Nathan Emson who was unable to control the ball.
Louth made it 3-0 on 33 minutes when Norton wrapped up his hat-trick. A mazy run from Elliot Broughton saw him evade a number of challenges before playing in Norton who poked the ball home.
The hosts then missed a chance to make it 4-0 before the break when Broughton’s shot was saved brilliantly by stand-in goalkeeper Beecham.
Walden’s men were running riot, but had to see out some Borough pressure early in the second half when the visitors forced a series of corners but they were unable to threaten Craig Wherry’s goal.
Louth did make it 4-0 though with 65 minutes played when Coulson netted his second goal in two games. The winger latched onto a mis-hit backpass from a Borough defender before smashing past the luckless Beecham.
The White Wolves’ joy was suddenly downcast though as Jamie Rowbotham went down under a heavy challenge from Shaun Baker on 75 minutes. The striker writhed in agony as the medical staff went to his aid and he was later taken away in an ambulance.
21-year-old Rowbotham was only a handful of games into his return from a shocking double leg break which had kept him out of action for 15 months. In that short space of time he had already netted three times and looked somewhere back to his best.
Broughton continued to have a storming game when the action finally got back underway, whipping in an inviting ball which Rocky Rawlings was inches from connecting with.
Then came Borough’s best spell of the game as they searched for a consolation goal. Fuller blazed over when given the chance to shoot before Stephenson narrowly shot wide from a whipped-in cross.
But the hosts wrapped up the victory in style when a neat passing move allowed Norton to complete his haul and a five star performance from the team.
The win means Paul Walden’s side are now nine unbeaten and cement 14th place in the Northern Counties East League Division One table. They host 7th placed Hemsworth Miners Welfare at Park Avenue on Saturday (3pm).