Louth Town reserves versus Horncastle Town was thoroughly entertaining and one of the matches of the season.
There was plenty of action, talking points and six goals to enjoy – including a hat-trick by Mark Fairburn.
In the opening stages Richard Madge was played in by Danny Marshall and his lob was just about saved by the back pedalling goalkeeper. Madge came even closer a couple of minutes later heading a Fairburn cross onto the bar.
Sam McSpadden forced the goalkeeper into a good save before Horncastle scored against the run of play. Their right winger cut inside and managed to squeeze his shot in at the near post.
It took Town less than 10 minutes to equalize through Marshall. Horncastle failed to clear their lines and the ball came to Marshall who unleashed a pile driver that flew into the top right corner. It was an outstanding finish by the young striker and meant Town were on level terms at half time.
Early in the second half Sam Hallett let fly from long range and missed the target by inches. Soon afterwards Madge saw his effort from the edge of the box come back off the bar again. Moments later Madge was replaced with Adam Christopher who made his return for Town.
In the 54th minute a moment of brilliance by Fairburn gave Town the lead. Fairburn saw the goalkeeper was off his line so he chipped him from 25 yards and the ball looped in. However, Horncastle were back in the game before long once a player dribbled his way past the defence and went for glory. Karl Shackleton made an excellent challenge at his feet, but was powerless to prevent another man getting the rebound.
As the game continued to ebb and flow Town should have been awarded a penalty kick when Dave Pawson was brought down inside the box. Thankfully, justice was done within a minute as Christopher drilled in a low cross from which Fairburn scored at the far post.
With time running out Fairburn was denied his third of the afternoon by a smart stop from the goalkeeper. Next Tope Cope came on for Dave Pawson and almost made an instant impact by releasing Marshall with a perfectly weighted through ball. Marshall rounded the goalkeeper and was then tripped by him, but the referee didn’t think that was a penalty either.
On 86 minutes Marshall was fouled in the area by a defender and that time the referee pointed to the spot. Fairburn took the kick and smashed it home to complete his hat-trick.
In stoppage time Fairburn nearly netted his fourth and Town’s fifth goal. Jamie Parnell found Fairburn with a long pass and his thunderous drive cannoned off the goalkeeper. It didn’t matter much though and at full time Town were 4-2 winners.
Town could easily have won by a greater margin if it wasn’t for Horncastle’s goalkeeper. Their performance was convincing, they moved the ball around quickly and created many chances. Fairburn, the hat-trick hero and man of the match, was different class and all his team mates did well too.
The manager, Jack Burton, was pleased with this result. These were his post match comments, “It was a slow start to the game, but a great finish by Danny Marshall just before half time gave us something to build on. We reacted well in the second half creating chance after chance. Credit to Mark Fairburn for his quality hat-trick and there were a lot of positives to take.”
The next fixture Town have is at home to the Lincs league leaders, Skegness United. This is on Tuesday November 6 and kicks off at 7.45pm.
Match stats: McHamilton; Parnell, Shackleton, Burton, B.Stevens; S.McSpadden, D.Pawson (T.Cope 78), Hallett (c); Marshall, Madge (Christopher 52), Fairburn.
Sent off: N/A
Scorer(s): Marshall 41, Fairburn 54, 71, 86 (pen).
Man of the match: Fairburn.