LOUTH Town Reserves returned to league action after an enforced winter break with a home tie at Park Avenue against Sleaford Town Reserves.
With Louth having a bit of a poor run just before this break a good win was needed to get them back on track, and this is what happened with a fine team performance recording a 4-0 victory with a superb hat trick from striker Steve Norton.
On a cold and windy day this fixture turned out to be a tougher test than first thought but manager Carl Wall changed to a 3-5-2 formation to try and get his players to use the big pitch to its full effect and play passing football.
It took 10 minutes for this to start working as Sleaford stopped the Louth boys play by closing them down and preventing any free flowing football.
With 17 minutes gone it was Chris Bailey who pounced on a loose Sleaford pass before a lovely passing move involving six Louth players ended with man of the match Norton being felled in the penalty area.
Robin Holderness kept his nerve to slot home the penalty and give the White Wolves the lead.
The returning Stuart Leafe who slotted in well after a layoff of almost seven months through injury, looked sharp linking well with Joe Harris & Phil Winter, it was Winter who slotted Steve Norton through clear on goal three minutes later to make it 2-0.
Sleaford quickly changed their team around to try to stop Louth playing.
The visitors did get a bit more of the ball, playing a much more direct game after this but a slip up by the Sleaford captain once more let Bailey rush on to the ball, he played a great one two with Mark Cody to let in Steve Norton who smashed it home from just outside the six yard area to make the score 3-0.
Sleaford kept pushing using the direct approach but everything was getting cleaned up by Danny Stevens, Ryan Dixon & captain Craig Dalton.
On 37 minutes Holderness put through Norton once more to complete his first half hat-trick in style with a deft turn and touch from 18 yards out to make it 4-0 at the break, the half time whistle was not what Louth wanted to hear
It was going to be at tough uphill battle for Sleaford to get back in this match and break down Louth after the interval and with the wind picking up a much more passing game was needed, keeping the ball on the deck, the game did not really get going after the break and Louth did take their foot off the gas, maybe fitness contributed after the seven week lay off.
The second half struggled to live up to a good first half, changes were needed, a Louth debut for Richard Meldrum against his old team replacing Leafe and ten minutes later Kieran Gilberthorpe replacing Holderness.
As mentioned earlier the wind picked up but these changes did spark a slight revival from Louth but nothing to really write home about. Jon Walton replaced the impressive Bailey in the last 10 minutes.
The game closed with no further goals and finished 4-0 to Louth.
“I am really pleased with my team today, we showed we can play some great football, this really proves how this team want to win and all the goals came from good passing and movement, I really want to take our home form into the next few weeks and convert it to away matches, especially next week to local rivals Clee Town, please come and support us if you can,” said team manager Carl Wall.
Kick off for the Lincs League game in Cleethorpes on Saturday January 22 will be at 2pm.