Ollerton were narrowly defeated 3-2 by Grimsby Borough on Saturday after conceding a 92nd minute penalty on their Northern Counties East League debut.
Grimsby went into half time 2-0 up thanks to goals by Will Peers and James Petronzio, before Ollerton fought back to 2-2 after a dominant second half performance.
The Town saw Ben Bowring dismissed for two bookables which stopped their momentum, and Jason Flint’s last minute penalty meant it was a cruel end for Ollerton who will learn a valuable lesson from the game.
The summer had seen Ollerton keep the vast majority of last season’s promotion winning squad and new additions, Gavin Saxby, Brandon Shaw, Josh Bowkett and Josh Dodd all made their competitive debuts on Saturday.
It was The Town who started the game the brightest and they nearly opened their account for the new season in spectacular style. Last season’s top goalscorer, Kyle Ludlow, hit an acrobatic overhead kick from the edge of the area which thumped against the bar after beating Grimsby ‘keeper Scott Drury.
Ollerton were holding their own but were punished for a piece of poor defending as Grimsby took the lead on fifteen minutes. Adam Drury delivered a ball in from the left and Will Peers ghosted into the space to head past Saxby.
The visitors kept pressing and nearly found an equaliser when Sam Stretton released Lewis Bingham down the left, but Bingham’s attempted lob failed to hit the target.
Grimsby then doubled their lead to seemingly take control of the game. Will Peers ran across from the right wing and he slipped through James Petronzio, and the Grimsby full back had time and space to slot past Saxby.
Before the half was up, Gareth Flint saw an effort saved well by Saxby before Ollerton hit the woodwork for a second time, after Sam Stretton’s well-struck strike from distance hit the base of the post.
Despite going into the break 2-0 down, Ollerton had put in a decent performance and would’ve held some belief that they could still find a way back into the game.
Jason Flint fired a good opportunity wide for Grimsby early on in the half, before Ollerton came close to halving the deficit, through the ever-dangerous Lewis Bingham who lifted a chance over Drury but then saw the ball land just wide of the post.
Ollerton made two changes, bringing on Rob Evans and Greg Tobin for Bowkett and Dodd and they had the game’s next chance. Lewis Bingham fizzed a shot wide of the target from outside the area.
Given that he had caused Grimsby’s defence problems all game, it was no surprise when Ollerton opened their account through Lewis Bingham. He latched on to a Sam Dockwray through ball and finished well to write his name into the history books, as Ollerton’s first ever goalscorer in the NCEL.
It had been all Ollerton in the second half and with momentum behind them, there was a real sense of belief that they could complete the comeback.
That job however was made a lot more difficult when the referee showed Ben Bowring his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Despite being down to ten men, Ollerton didn’t give in and they got their reward thanks to a piece of brilliant individual skill. Sam Dockwray latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out from goal and after jinking past a defender, he hit a stunning lobbed effort with the outside of his foot that found the top of the net.
Ollerton’s dominance petered off somewhat after Bowring’s dismissal but Drury still had to be at his best to keep out a cracking strike by Bingham. Saxby was then called into action to keep out a low effort from Grimsby’s Jack Bradbury.
Just when it looked like both teams would have to settle for a point, the referee pointed to the spot for a Tobin foul on Bradbury.
Grimsby captain Jason Flint stepped up to bobble a penalty past Saxby, with the Ollerton ‘stopper being agonisingly close to getting a hand to it.
It was a horrible to end to the game for Ollerton as they deserved to travel back to Walesby Lane with a point.
The fact that the Ollerton faithful clapped the players off the pitch though was telling and despite the defeat, there were plenty of positives to take away and a lot to be encouraged about as Ollerton continue their new chapter in the Northern Counties East League.