Late goals send Ledbury crashing to a third defeat

Late goals send Ledbury crashing to a third defeat

Late goals send Ledbury crashing to a third defeat

First published in Sport

LEDBURY Town sank to the bottom of West Midlands Football League Division One with a 4-2 loss to St Martins at New Street.

It was the third consecutive defeat at home for Zac Blood and Pete Boyle’s stricken side.

But the hosts, much like the previous week’s encounter against Shenstone Pathfinders, were unlucky not to have gained at least a point on this occasion.

The score stood at 2-2 after 85 minutes, only for Ledbury to be undone through a third goal in injury-time and a stoppage-time penalty.

A shock 2-1 defeat to St Martins last November had started a downward spiral of results for Town last season.

The Shropshire visitors put early pressure on young Ledbury keeper James Loader but he blocked well, while a Town effort was pushed wide by St Martins goalkeeper George Austin at the other end.

Jasper Alford then crossed for Joe Bates, back after a week-long trial for England under 18s in Derbyshire, to fire just wide.

Both teams tussled for the ball and Ledbury defender Craig Kitchener saw a header ruled out for offside.

Harry Murphy responded by blasting the ball to deflect off an unlucky Loader’s hands into the net for the opening goal.

But, in the 20th minute, prolific striker Bryan Sewell produced a superb header from a cross to bag a swift equaliser.

St Martins’ Murphy was denied twice by Loader and Shaun Melusi fired over.

Murphy was again denied by Loader five minutes before the interval but scrambled the ball home on the rebound.

St Martins, playing uphill in the second period, continued to press although Kitchener held the back-line well.

At the other end, another cross from Alford was again struck narrowly wide by Bates.

An outstanding shot from Ledbury’s Gavin Hodgkins just clipped the corner of the bar.

But Bates got himself on the scoresheet in the 53rd minute with a superb finish from Sewell’s cross.

Three quick corners failed to provide a third goal for the visitors.

Both teams threw players into the box and Loader again saved the day for Ledbury by keeping out a header.

But Murphy blasted the ball home after an initial shot clipped the post two minutes into injury-time.

Murphy was then brought down in the box to result in Melusi converting from the spot.

Ledbury head to Wrens Nest on Saturday, September 6, (3pm ko), after tomorrow’s home game with Wem was cancelled.

The reserves kick off the Herefordshire League Division One season against Woofferton at New Street tomorrow (2.30pm).

Meanwhile, Bromyard Town are second in West Midlands League Division One after a 4-2 win at Herefordshire rivals Bartestree.

Andy Bullock, Joel Hobbs, Josh Weatherby and Shane Smallcross scored the goals.

Bromyard entertain early table-toppers Worcester Raiders tomorrow (3pm).

In Division Two, Malvern Town under 21s lost 1-0 at Bilbrook but Powick Rangers won 4-1 at Warstone Wanderers.

David Perera (2), Sean Smith and Matt Beckett scored for Powick.

Malvern host early leaders Stafford and Powick head to Red Star Alma tomorrow (both 3pm).

Newent Town lost 3-0 at home to Hardwicke in Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division One.

But they progressed to the Reg Davis Memorial Cup semi-finals with a 4-2 victory over Longford on penalties after drawing 1-1. Justin Halfpenny netted.

Newent entertain Taverners tomorrow (3pm).

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