Early goal was not enough for Cobras

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Despite taking an early lead, new-look Clipstone Welfare lost 5-2 at Hemsworth Miners’ Welfare.

The defeat left the Cobras 15th in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division — 16 points clear of the bottom three.

Clipstone struggled to find a way of breaching a well-organised opposition, but never gave up.

New Cobras boss Ian Cotton made four changes with Luke Randle returning to the first-team. Keaton Ward, Jake Eggington and Harry Burkumshaw made their debuts for the visitors.

The Cobras enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening exchanges and Gareth Curtis found himself free on goal, but the angle was too tight for him to score.

However, in the ninth minute Curtis again caused Hemsworth trouble with a driving run through the middle.

His pass fell perfectly into the path of Keaton Ward, who side-footed from the edge of the box into the top corner to give Clipstone the lead.

Keeper Andy Francis preserved the advantage as he parried a Bill Law header over the bar.

From the resulting corner Samuel Jones’ fierce strike was saved.

In the 31st minute Nicholas Guest levelled and within five minutes the home side had taken the lead through Law.

Hemsworth started the second half as they ended the first and within two minutes Richard Collier danced through the Clipstone defence, but his shot rebounded off the post and the Cobras cleared the danger.

Curtis tested the home defence down the right flank and helped to win a corner, from which captain Ben Rogers shot wide.

Hemsworth continued to dominate and a deep cross from the right found Richard Collier, who controlled the ball stylishly and slotted home after an unfortunate slip by Jake Eggington.

Three minutes later it was 4-1 as Guest, looking offside, netted.

Clipstone boss Cotton made a double change with Tim Brebury and Max Curzon coming on.

The substitutions, however, couldn’t stop Guest from completing his hat-trick for the home side in the 70th minute.

Clipstone refused to give in and put good passing moves together, but the home defence stood firm.

Two minutes from time the visitors did get a deserved consolation.

A positive run by Harry Burkumshaw was checked in the box and from the resulting penalty Gareth Curtis slotted home into the bottom right corner.

Clipstone will now face two old faces, Joe Austin and Sam Forster, when they travel to Maltby Main at the weekend before a home match against table-toppers Cleethorpes Town on Saturday, 11th February.