Visitors Clipstone maintained their 100 per cent record in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Division 1, recording their ninth win from nine games with a 4-1 win at Park Avenue against Louth Town on Tuesday evening (October 7).
However, if the score line suggests it was a comfortable victory for Clipstone, the reality was anything but as Louth pushed them all the way and can consider themselves somewhat unfortunate to take nothing from the game.
Louth began brightly and pushed the visitors back right from the kick off. Danny Kilmore, making his first start of the season, fired over with just two minutes on the clock before Jordan Smith cut inside and curled a shot narrowly over the bar just moments later.
On 12 minutes, skipper Carl Martin’s header appeared to cross the line before being cleared by Clipstone defender Rich Mintoft but the referee waved away the home side’s protests and play continued.
Louth threatened again moments later as first Danny Stevens and then Jamie Coulson came close with good efforts.
As so often happens in football, after failing to convert their early chances Louth were hit with a sucker punch as the visitors opened the scoring after 15 minutes with their first meaningful attack of the match.
There appeared to be little danger as striker Jamie Smith picked the ball up 25 yards from goal but Smith cut inside before unleashing a fantastic shot straight into the bottom corner.
This took the wind out of Louth’s sails and the visitors increased their advantage just two minutes later as a poor clearance by goalkeeper Scott Drury fell to Matty Ord who rounded the Louth stopper before tapping home into the unguarded net.
Things got even worse after 26 minutes when Clipstone added a third. Smith, looking suspiciously offside, made progress down the right hand side before crossing for Jack Currie to score with a shot from six yards.
Louth rallied and Stevens was narrowly wide with a free kick before Danny Wood came close for Clipstone with a dipping 25 yard shot that just missed the target.
The White Wolves finally managed to score the goal their performance warranted just before half time as Kilmore’s pass found Smith who shot into the corner of the net from twelve yards out.
The second half was an even affair with good chances at both ends. For Louth, Stevens headed over from close range and Rocky Rawling’s effort was well blocked by defender Stuart Hill.
At the opposite end Smith’s shot was tipped around the post by Drury and Ord saw his effort deflected just wide after a block by Craig Lill.
The game was finally put beyond Louth with 7 minutes remaining as Smith rose unchallenged to head the ball over Drury and into the goal. Clipstone nearly added a fifth in stoppage time but Callum Mawby could only shoot into the side netting.
The White Wolves may have been beaten but they can certainly take great encouragement from their performance against one of the stronger sides in the league.
Louth thank match sponsor Woodthorpe Bodyworks. We are in home action again on Saturday when the visitors will be Knaresborough Town. Kick off will be at 3pm.
Manager Paul Walden comments: “It hurt last night. Football is often about fine lines and last night was like that we had a good goal chalked off and I believe we would have gone on to win comfortably but our inexperience showed and they were three nil up and not really in the game.
“We have a lot of points to play for and we must bounce back Saturday.”
Quora Developments Man of the match: Danny Kilmore.