As it was, his 91st minute strike was a mere consolation as the Salts slumped to a painful defeat against Farnham Town.
Yet again Lyndon was forced into a playing reshuffle due to the work commitments of Ross White and Antony Myers, while Adrian Jones remained sidelined with illness, so Nick Taylor-Greaves made his third straight appearance. Anthony Panayi came back in and Ben Hayward returned to the midfield.
Despite the changes the first half was a virtual carbon copy of the home defeat to Ash United three days previously. We looked bright for the opening ten minutes but once we had conceded in the 17th minute, confidence visibly drained away and a second goal four minutes later gave us another mountain to climb.
Now, if the goals conceded were good ones, you could have sat back and accepted that it just wasn’t our night. However, both were totally avoidable. The first came after a spell of pressure from the visitors and as the ball came across Jamie Summers attempted a cushion header back to our keeper. Unfortunately, Taylor-Greaves had decided to come for the ball. He called for it, but from where I was standing, the call came too late for Summers to change his mind and the soft header dribbled over the line for an own goal. Four minutes later a hopeful ball was swung in and as seems to be the case recently, an unmarked player had the simple job of heading the ball into the corner of the net.
As with the Ash game, the visitors nearly scored a third when Hayward lost the ball in midfield and the breakaway was thankfully put over the bar from close range. However, we showed occasional glimpses of what we could do. James Cottee and Matt Smith were close to breaking through after a keeper error, but Smith’s drive was charged down at the last minute and moments later Hayward’s shot from distance was well struck, but straight at the keeper.
We nearly pulled a goal back after 48 minutes when Cottee’s dangerous right wing cross fizzed across the six-yard box and between their keeper and Mark Jarman, but unfortunately we went further behind after 56 minutes when a visiting player had a clear shot at goal. He actually hit the bar with his effort but the ball rebounded off the back of Taylor-Greaves and the Farnham striker was quicker than our defenders to react, scoring an easy goal.
Cottee had another long range effort just turned around the post for a corner but in the 69th minute it was 4-0. A fairly straight-forward ball in was not held by Taylor-Greaves, and yet again we were unable to get to the second ball ahead of the visiting player who scored easily.
Smith had a long-range shot saved by the keeper while Cottee was again unlucky with a shot that was just over the angle of post and crossbar. He was getting plenty of help from the willing Dewar, who had come on for his first game following illness and looked very nippy. He nearly scored on the 90 minute mark when his shot was just tipped around by the keeper, but from the ensuing corner the ball went through a crowd of players to him, and he controlled and fired in from eight yards for a goal that made the scoreline look about fair in the end.
Defensive woes aside, our passing game is deserting us and with Carl Downs injured and wide men regularly absent, this is badly affecting our service to the front men.
Team: Nick Taylor-Greaves, Matt Smith, Jamie Hatfield (capt), Jamie Summers, Alex McKay, Anthony Panayi, Ben Hayward, Nathan Ayling, Mark Jarman, James Cottee, Paul Gough.
Subs: Ryan Augustine for Summers (63), Ali Dewar for Gough (63), Dan Amos for Gough (82)
Booked: Jamie Summers (59, foul), Nathan Ayling (61, foul), Ben Hayward (68, foul)
Supporters Player of the Match: Ali Dewar for providing the one highlight of the game. He has deserved his first goal for a while.
Pictures: Top: Ali Dewar sends the ball goalwards in the final minute
Bottom: The ball is on its way into the net.