Shirebrook Town lost valuable ground on the teams at the top of the NCEL Division One table after conceding a late goal and slipping to a disappointing 1-0 defeat against North Yorkshire side Knaresborough Town at Langwith Road on Saturday.
Fresh from a 2-1 away victory over local rival’s Clipstone Welfare in midweek, Shirebrook were without midfielder James Cottingham and winger Antony Rowley, after both had picked up knocks in that game, but defender Rob Ludlam was back after missing the last two games and he was given a place on the bench.
Meanwhile, Knaresborough came into the game unbeaten in six and they had the better chances in a drab first half, although it never looked as if it was going to be Shirebrook’s day when goalkeeper Ben Hallam limped off with a troublesome old ankle injury on 35 minutes and skipper Jack Barnett followed him two minutes later, the unfortunate influential midfielder having to be helped off the pitch after suddenly pulling up with a painful hamstring strain.
However, Shirebrook improved after the interval, but the game looked to be heading for a draw until Knaresborough finally broke the deadlock with seven minutes to go after the ball fell kindly for Danny Wright, and he had all the time in the world to pick his spot before firing past replacement home keeper Steve Shuttleworth from just outside the box on the right.
It was a cruel blow for the home side, although they looked to hit back straight away from Tom Rowbotham’s corner on the right a minute later, but Jason Bradley’s header was cleared off the line without too much of a fuss.
And then Shirebrook looked to have grabbed at least a share of the points a minute into time added on, from another Rowbotham corner on the right, but the match referee and his assistant decided the ball hadn’t crossed a crowded line before it was cleared at the far post, leaving the home side really frustrated, whilst sending a happy Knaresborough Town back home with all the spoils in the end.
Shirebrook manager Mark Shaw said after the game: “Knaresborough are a good side. They came here wanting to get three points and they’ve worked very hard. So all credit to them, although I’m very disappointed from our point of view.”
“We didn’t create enough chances in the first half and second half I thought we were worthy of at least one or two goals, and it’s just disappointing that we didn’t get one into the net.”
Asked about the ‘goal’ that wasn’t given at the end of the game, Shaw said: “I had a great view and I thought that the ball was clawed out from inside the netting.”
“I think the referee could see and the linesman couldn’t, so they couldn’t help each other, but I think they’ve missed what should have been a goal, so I feel a bit hard done by.”
Shirebrook Town now take a welcome three-match break from their league programme, first with the visit to Langwith Road of East Midlands Counties Premier Division side Borrowash Victoria next Wednesday for a 7.45pm kick-off in the Second Round of the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
And then next Saturday, Shaw’s men remain at Langwith Road to welcome for the first time Midland Combination Premier Division side Walsall Wood for a 3 o’clock kick-off in the Second Round Proper of the FA Vase.
And that’s followed with a long Tuesday night trip north for Shirebrook to today’s opponents in the Second Round of the League Cup, before returning to league matters on the last Saturday of the month, hopefully having picked themselves up in time for the visit of near-neighbours Teversal to Langwith Road.
Shirebrook Town: Hallam (S Shuttleworth 35), Lemon, Rowbotham, Walker, Timons, Cardwell, Barnett (Ludlam 37), Forbes, Mullen, Bradley, Vernon (Jordan 80). Subs not used: Booth, Camm.
Knaresborough Town: Rushworth, Donnelly, Littlefair, Atkinson, Thomas, Clayton, Wright, Bradley, Freeston, Bromley (Heath 71), Eagling. Subs not used: Harding, Radcliffe.
Referee: Steven Holroyd (West Yorkshire)