New manager Jamie Hardwick felt there were “a lot of positives” to take from Clipstone’s latest defeat, even though they were beaten 4-0 at home by Garforth Town.
It was Clipstone’s 24th straight defeat in a Toolstation Northern Counties East League, First Division season that has yet to yield a single point.
But Hardwick, a former player with the club, who has taken on the job alongside his duties with the development squad at Mansfield Town, was not downhearted.
“We had a young squad today with an average age of around 19,” he said. “If we can cut out a few silly mistakes and be more positive in the final third, we can turn it around.
“Originally, I thought it would take three-to-five weeks to change things, but based on this performance, it could happen more quickly. I’m also looking to bring a few players in”.
In front of a crowd of 82, the Cobras made a bright start and matched their more experienced opponents for long periods of the game. But they were punished for elementary defensive errors, beginning in the 14th minute when they conceded possession cheaply in their own half and when Mitch Hamilton’s initial shot came back off the bar, Callum Ward slotted home close range.
Garforth doubled their advantage two minutes later when a long ball from Jack Lazenby into the box wasn’t dealt with properly and an unmarked Hamilton steered his header past Owen. The visitors were then gifted a third on 29 minutes when skipper Charlie Taylor diverted a Luke Kitson free-kick past Levi Owen for an own goal.
Garforth scored their fourth and final goal four minutes into the second period when a long ball skimmed off Taylor’s head into the path of Hamilton, who moved into the area and coolly slotted the ball past the advancing Owen.
To their credit, the young Clipstone team kept working hard until the very end and, in the final minute, good work by impressive man-of-the-match Luke Morgan created a chance for Olly Ashton, but his shot was straight at Peter Lawrie in the visitors’ goal