Sikh Hunters 1-4 Newport Town
By Aaron Muffett
Another harsh lesson for Lovatt's Lions
Sikh Hunters fell to defeat on Saturday in their latest WMRL Division one fixture as they lost 4-1 to promotion favourites Newport Town.
Hunters made two changes from the 4-0 reverse at Droitwich Spa a week earlier as Ashley Justin and Derry Cook came into the side at the expense of the unavailable Tom Oldaker and Sanjay Malhi.
The home side started sloppily and were almost behind in the opening couple of minutes. A mishit clearance from goalkeeper Liam Haynes found Newport's Shane Thomas on the right around 40 yards from goal but as he tried to put the ball in the temporarily unguarded net, his lofted effort fell just wide. Shortly after at the other end, Connor Archer charged down an attempted clearance and the visitors scrambled the ball for a corner from which Ashley Smith powered a header towards goal only for it to be cleared off the line.
Midway through the first half, Newport took the lead as Thomas got away down the right and finished hard and low across Haynes into the bottom corner. The Hunters response was immediate however as some confusion in the Newport defence led to Justin Nisbett bearing down on goal. His effort was blocked and the ball fell to Dan Jones on the penalty spot who showed a great deal of composure to turn away from a defender before finishing past the goalkeeper with his left foot for 1-1.
After getting back into the game, the hosts then left themselves with a mountain to climb just after the half hour mark as they conceded two goals in five minutes. Firstly, a Newport corner was punched clear only as far as a visiting player around 12 yards out who finished well high into the net before Thomas was in for his second of the game, taking a volleyed pass in his stride and rifling past Haynes from the edge of the area.
Into the second period and despite their obvious efforts to get back into the game, Hunters were struggling to create clear cut chances. Newport should have put the game beyond doubt midway through the half when Thomas rounded Haynes but hesitated before putting the ball into the net, giving Jones the opportunity to make a fantastic goal saving challenge with Ben Lawley completing the clearance off his own goal line and then following that let off, the home side could and should have been back within just a goal as Hinesh Patel went through one on one with the goalkeeper but he scuffed his effort across the keeper and debutant substitute Luke Simons was unable to turn the ball home as he slid in at the back post.
The visitors completed the scoring in the closing moments as Thomas completed his hat-trick and although Hunters hit the bar late on, it was Newport's day and another harsh lesson in mistakes being punished for the hosts.
This Saturday, Hunters are back on the road as they travel to Telford for a league fixture against Wellington Amateurs. Kick off is at 3pm.