LEDBURY Town’s promising pre-season was brought back down to earth by a humiliating 15-1 home demolition at the hands of a skilful Cheltenham Town XI at New Street.
Town, who beat Upton, a Hereford United Supporters’ Trust side and a Worcester City XI in friendlies, open their West Midlands League Division One campaign at home to Penncroft tomorrow (3pm) on the back of a thrashing.
In their worst result since a 9-0 drubbing at Hanwood United in March last season, joint managers Zac Blood and Pete Boyle’s new squad just could not keep up with their speedy opponents.
Strikers Harry Williams and Zack Kotwica ran rings around the beleaguered home defence to build up a 7-0 half-time lead.
Williams struck on just 45 seconds before Kotwica netted a free-kick soon after and Jamal Lawrence scored a third in the 20th minute.
New forward Darren Palmer fired a consolation for Ledbury but Kotwica struck with another free-kick and then completed his hat-trick to sandwich a Williams effort.
Williams sealed his treble before the break and grabbed a fourth 13 minutes into the second period.
Ledbury introduced Joel Skyers in his return to the club but it could not stem the flow of goals.
Substitute Jamie Goodwin scored Cheltenham’s ninth on 61 minutes and Niall Rowe made it double figures.
Joint player-manager Boyle managed his second own goal in the space of three matches and a fellow Ledbury player cleared the ball into the home net just four minutes later.
Williams increased his tally to five and Kotwica to four before Ledbury’s misery was completed by Goodwin two minutes from time.
The defeat will have served as a cautionary lesson before they start a second consecutive campaign in Division One against Wolverhampton-based Penncroft.
Ledbury previously beat a Worcester City XI 5-3 with ex-Kidderminster Harriers youngster Joe Bates, Blood (2), defender Ian Merrick and new signing Jason Kennedy on target.
n Ledbury Town beat Paul’s Players 5-3 at New Street in the second memorial match in honour of prolific sportsman Paul Ledbury. He passed away last year at the age of 51 after playing football for local clubs as well as competing in cricket, skittles, pool, crib, golf and angling.
Town fielded many reserve players against an experienced group, who had turned out alongside Ledbury in the past.
Nicky Welch opened the scoring for Town on seven minutes but Duncan Preedy and Robbie Colwell quickly put Paul’s Players in front with a goal each in the space of five minutes.
In the 70-minute match, Adam McTear levelled for Town when he took the ball around keeper Mark Taylor.
Ex-first team manager Chris Powell then defected to the younger squad and put them a goal ahead on 55 minutes.
Gavin Walton produced the goal of the day soon after by lobbing Taylor from 40 yards out.
The veterans pulled a goal back before a fifth from Nick Bolton extended Town’s lead.
Their captain Martin Loveridge accepted the Paul Ledbury Memorial Trophy from event organiser Phil Preedy.
Mick Clack, of Paul’s Players, won the new man-of-the-match cup.