Saints are winners, but Hucknall Town are sinners

ANDY GRAVES -- frustrated by Town's inconsistency.
ANDY GRAVES -- frustrated by Town's inconsistency.

Manager Andy Graves could not disguise his frustration as HUCKNALL TOWN’S inconsistency reared its ugly head again.

After climbing into the top five of the Central Midlands League’s South Division table, Town needed one more win to equal their entire tally from last season. And they were expected to pocket it against struggling Harrowby Saints.

But instead, they slid to a 2-1 defeat, failing to impose themselves on a side who had won only three of their first 11 starts.

Grantham outfit Harrowby are a capable, technically adept team who like to pass the ball around. But even without key players such as Joe Atkinson and Cameron Davidson, The Yellows appeared to be coping well in the opening half-hour and created the best opportunities, with Montell Gatland twice going close.

That was until one of their corners was cleared and an uncharacteristic long ball from the home side found its way fortuitously to striker Jack Millward, who ran on to place a clever shot past advancing goalkeeper James Beddingham.

It didn’t take long for Town to equalise as a flowing four-pass move involving Gatland, new signing Junior Harding, Matt Clowes and Leon Aikman led to a well-taken goal by Adam Nelson. And they almost went into the half-time break 2-1 up as midfielder Harding rattled the bar.

Graves’s troops were also on the front foot early in the second half, with man-of-the-match Nelson bringing a spectacular save from the excellent Harrowby ‘keeper, Jack Nason.

However, they shot themselves in the foot by gifting the home team what proved to be the winning goal. Ben Waplington gave away a needless pass, which was picked up just inside the Town half, and then Millward was allowed to waltz his way through a frozen backline. Finally, Clowes got in a tackle but despite losing his balance, the young Harrowby striker still managed to toepoke the ball past Beddingham.

As The Yellows pushed for an equaliser, their final ball or shot was lacking. They also left themselves open and were indebted to Beddingham for a fine save late on.

The locals’ best chance fell to substitute Aaron Evans, who went for glory instead of laying the ball off for an unmarked Nelson.

Now Town need to pick themselves up when they switch to Notts FA Senior County Cup action this Saturday at home to divisional rivals, Real United. Their nest league game is at home to Pinxton.