FOOTBALL: Louth Reserves miss out on Challenge Cup final spot

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Louth Town Reserves missed out on a place in the Challenge Cup final after a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Nettleham.

The supporters had high hopes after the 8-1 demolition of Boston Town reserves a week earlier. Sadly, there was no such luck this time.

Town made a slow start and were fortunate not to concede inside the first 10 minutes. A striker ran onto a long ball over the top and stabbed inches wide of the left post.

A long range effort by Paul Coulam flew wide before Nettleham broke the deadlock. Their overlapping right back got forward and squared to a striker leaving him with a simple tap in.It took Town less than 3 minutes to equalize through the in-form Adam Coddington. Sam McSpadden’s cross was headed only as far as Coddington who volleyed in from nine yards.

Mike Armstrong and Rocky Rawlings were both booked before Paul Coulam tried another ambitious long shot. On that occasion he was narrowly off target.

On 41 minutes Ben Smith made a fine save at his near left post. However, he was unable to keep out another goal on the stroke of half time. Nettleham’s left back sent a long ball into the danger zone and it was met by a volley that nestled in the net.

Unfortunately Mike Armstrong had picked up a minor injury and did not return for the second half. Danny Marshall took his place.

In the 61st minute town conceded again under unfortunate circumstances. A player pulled the ball back, but it deflected off Dave Pawson and into his own goal. It was unavoidable and Dave Pawson was just unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Town kept going while their chances were still alive, but failed to test the Nettleham goalkeeper and never looked like scoring. Smith, on the other hand, was kept busy and made a brilliant stop tipping the ball onto his crossbar. He also did well to hold a couple more shots before the final whistle.

Nettleham were good value for their win and Town wish them luck in the final. Their opponents will be Boston United reserves - they scraped through on penalties following a 2-2 draw with Gainsborough Town. Reaching the Challenge Cup semi finals was an achievement; however, it was a shame that Town couldn’t go even further.

Craig Dalton was under whelmed by the performance, “That was not a well contested semi final and our performance was poor.

“I was excited after seeing us win 8-1 last week, but our football was much worse today. Andy Appleby did well after I brought him on and was man of the match – the rest of the lads weren’t as good.”

Town are at home to Skegness United on Tuesday, March 12 (7.45pm).