A killer goal just two minutes from time capped a miserable four days for Clipstone, who suffered a brace of 3-2 defeats that lost them valuable ground on the league leaders.
In both matches, the Cobras fought back to level from 2-0 down, only to concede a late winner, and they have now slipped to eighth in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League, Premier Division table, 13 points behind leaders Worksop Town.
If the defeat at lowly Brigg Town last Wednesday was largely self-inflicted, Saturday’s reverse at Pickering Town was a shade unfortunate because Clipstone staged a rousing second-half comeback that probably deserved better. But just as the match was heading for a fair draw, they switched off at the back, failed to clear a routine high ball into the box and allowed Nathan Kamara to stab home from close range with just two minutes remaining.
Clipstone started the match brightly enough, creating chances for Alec Denton and man-of-the-match Nicky Walker, whose effort was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Toby Wells. However, after fine stops at the other end by skipper Steve Hernandez, Pickering snatched a 35th minute lead when Calum Ward pounced d after his initial shot was half-saved.
Clipstone had every right to feel aggrieved because Ward struck while defender Liam Royles, whom he had fouled moments earlier, was off the field receiving treatment. And the anguish piled up as they lost injured duo Liam Nelthorpe and Damian Magee at half-time and conceceded a needless second goal three minutes after the restart. It was a daft defensive mix-up as Joe Danby was allowed to go through unchallenged to beat Hernandez from inside the area.
The Cobras responded with a wind-assisted corner from Walker that hit the bar and deservedly clawed their way back with goals in the 58th and 76th minutes. First Denton played in winger Walker, who rounded the ‘keeper before crossing for Ellis Wall finish coolly. And then Denton ran 40 yards for a shot that came off a post to Walker, who made no mistake.
Walker almost scored again with a free-kick that was superbly saved before the heartbreaking finale that left Clipstone needing to pick up the pieces in two more away trips against Staveley tonight (Wednesday) and Retford United on Saturday.
CLIPSTONE LINE-UP -- Hernandez/ Royles, Randle, Nelthorpe (Scully 45), Salt, Magee (Bates 45), Smith (Ryan 68), Wall, Denton, Ashmore, Walker. SUBS NOT USED: Colliver, Ball.