Shirebrook Town’s miserable October Toolstation Northern Counties East League Division One form continued with a 4-2 defeat against in-form mid-table rivals Selby Town at The Fairfax Plant Hire Stadium, Selby, on Saturday.
Nevertheless, Shirebrook had travelled into North Yorkshire hopeful of their first win of the month after shaking off most of their recent injuries and suspensions, and returning to something like a full strength side for the first time in weeks.
But the visitors started slowly and soon found themselves two goals behind.
Selby looked to have a potent attacking force almost from the off and Nathan Kamara put the home side in front on 10 minutes, the home side’s skipper looking suspiciously offside as he controlled a cross from the right on his chest, before picking his spot and sliding the ball past Joe McCormack’s right hand in the Shirebrook goal from 16 yards.
The visitors continued to struggle to cope as Kamara, former Doncaster Rovers’ forward Jason Price and Danny Gray combined well a minute later, McCormack needing finally to be brave at Price’s feet six yards from goal.
And Selby continued to press, Josh O’Neill firing just over from 25 yards after Price crossed from the right on 16 minutes, before Tom Owen doubled the home side’s advantage five minutes later after McCormack could only block Kamara’s shot with Owen following in to pick up the bits.
At that stage the question wasn’t whether Selby would win, but how many they would win by.
But then Shirebrook seemed at last to be galvanised into action and focus switched up to the other end with central defender Ross Henshaw heading the ball into the Selby net from six yards to halve the deficit after Danny Bacon flicked the ball on at the near post off Ben Cobley’s corner from the left on 36 minutes.
Selby began to wobble as the visitors continued to test them after that with Bacon, Jordan Claxton and Aaron Moxam all going close before the home side steadied themselves again in the final minute of the half to make sure they took their narrow 2-1 lead into the interval.
It could have been anyone’s game then, but Shirebrook gifted Selby an easy chance just eight minutes after the restart that left Gray one-on-one with McCormack, and he stuck the ball away with aplomb from 18 yards to restore the home side’s two goal advantage.
And that was a real setback for Shirebrook, and they had to work hard again to get back into the game for the next 20 minutes.
Bacon hit the Selby crossbar from the edge of the box on 75 minutes and Moxam had to stretch to get a toe to the rebound, which then fell comfortably into the arms of home keeper Lee Kelsey.
But three minutes after that there was nothing Kelsey could do when Craig Getliff headed into the net after the flight of Claxton’s cross from the left deceived everyone, and the ball bounced once in the crowded box to the Shirebrook skipper, well-placed at the far post.
The visitors, keen to earn themselves at least a point, continued to press after that, but several corners and crosses came to nothing with the home side just happy to defend and hang onto what they already had.
However, any lingering hope Shirebrook might have had of getting something from the game disappeared a minute into time added on at the end when another loose pass presented Price with a simple opportunity, and Selby’s experienced striker used all his guile in slipping the ball past McCormack in the box, earning his side a penalty and McCormack a red card when the keeper’s despairing challenge brought him down as he did so.
Central defender Mark Camm deputised for the unfortunate keeper, but Kamara’s spot kick had Camm going the wrong way and Selby finished the game 4-2 winners – a scoreline that seemed a little unfair on Shirebrook.
Next up, Shirebrook Town face a tough trip to Hemsworth Miners Welfare on Tuesday and they can expect no favours in their search for a win from the hitherto struggling West Yorkshire side, after ex-Goole AFC pair Wayne Benn and Andy Hayward took charge of first team affairs at the club last week. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
And that’s followed on Saturday with a return to Langwith Road and Shirebrook’s first big local derby of the season when Clipstone are the visitors (3pm).
SELBY TOWN: Kelsey, Gramstad, Wolski, Snaith, Amdal, O’Reilly, Kamara, O’Neill, Gray (Blackwell 70), Price, Owen (Jones 80). Subs not used: Kelly, Halvorsen, Houghton.
SHIREBROOK TOWN: McCormack, Cobley, Claridge (Mullen 58), Booth, Henshaw, M Camm, Bachner (Thompson 58), Getliff, Moxam, Bacon (Wiltshire 84), Claxton. Subs not used: Wankiewicz, Dickinson.
REFEREE: Jason Knowles of West Yorkshire.
In midweek, despite leading until the 85th minute of the game, Shirebrook were knocked out of the League Cup at the first hurdle, beaten 2-1 in extra-time by visitors Worsbrough Bridge Athletic.
Shirebrook took the lead on 58 minutes through Jordan Claxton, and it was no more than they deserved after dominating play with some neat football right from the start that, until then, only lacked the finishing touch.
But that’s how the game continued, with Shirebrook unable to find the back of the net again and their slender lead ultimately proved not to be enough when Worsbrough hit them on the counter and Dean Shirt put the ball into the net at the back post with five minutes to go, forcing 30 more minutes of play after the final whistle.
And the same player put Worsbrough in front 10 minutes into the first half of extra-time, Shirt calmly taking advantage of Shirebrook’s inability to clear their lines with the visitors pressing from the left.
That goal proved to be the decider on a disappointing night for Shirebrook, Worsbrough taking the prize of a Second Round trip to Premier Division side Pickering Town during the last week of November.