STEVE Norton’s second half strike couldn’t prevent Louth Town from slipping to a third successive defeat at Hallam on Tuesday night.
Norton’s 52nd minute goal followed up first half strikes from Sam Eckhardt and Danny Wiltshire but the hosts ran out 2-1 winners at ‘the world’s oldest football ground’ in Sheffield.
Town were missing captain Carl Martin whose wife has just given birth to a baby boy, as well as Andy Appleby and goalkeeper Craig Wherry who were unavailable, meaning Paul Walden welcomed back top scorer Norton and defender Stuart Leafe. James Archer took up the skipper’s armband for the night.
Louth kicked off up the slope and attacked from the off with Archer playing the ball to Sam Smith and on to Jamie Coulson, only for the ball to go out for a goal kick.
A break down the left shortly after saw Matt Kennedy make a great run beating two players only to be thwarted by the keeper.
Hallam countered with an attack down their left which Stuart Leafe did well to stop. Louth countered after a foul on Smith, but the attack came to nothing.
Good battles were being fought in midfield with Town coming out on top and Archer organising the back four well. A great tackle from Dan Pawson saw him break away only for the ball to go out for a Hallam throw.
Hallam were trying to break Town down with long balls in between the full backs, but sound defending kept the score goalless.
But it didn’t stay that way for long as the home team took the lead on 12 minutes. Another long clearance by Hallam’s keeper saw Louth’s stand-in goalkeeper MacTaggart come out to clear but with the uneven pitch he miskicked, the ball hit a defender and rolled clear for Sam Eckhardt to score against the run of play.
And just four mintues later it was 2-0 despite Town arguably being the better side. A long ball bounced through the defence and despite strong offside appeals Danny Wiltshire nipped in to double the lead.
A good run by Matt Kennedy and a great shot by Smith saw his shot go wide.
Play was held up whilst Leafe received treatment, but he was unable to continue and was replaced by Bobby McSpadden.
A rapid start from Town saw Coulson’s header well saved before Norton fired over.
The hosts’ next attack saw Dalton defend well and the ball go out for a Hallam throw. Town won the ball and a great long pass saw Norton play it down and calmly flick over the keeper to bring it back to 2-1.
It was all Town after the goal and Coulson had another chance to score but fired his shot into the side netting.
Louth threw everything forward in the last few minutes, but unfortunately for them the equaliser did not come.
The result means Town’s stuttering league form of late continues and they stay in 14th in the NCEL Division One table.
The White Wolves will be looking to bounce back when they face a tough visit to fourth placed Albion Sports who they beat 1-0 at Park Avenue in October.
See next week’s Leader for the full report.