After disappointing back-to-back defeats in their last two league and cup outings, Shirebrook Town bounced back with a fine 3-0 NCEL Division One win over Hull-based Hall Road Rangers, sealed by two late goals at Langwith Road on Saturday.
Like Shirebrook, the visitors arrived for the game on the back of two consecutive defeats and with the harsh words of their assistant manager, Lee Hastings, still stinging their players’ ears, demanding a response after they had thrown away a three goal lead to lose 5-3 at home to Clipstone in their last outing.
Hall Road began well enough, Chris Adams firing just wide of the near post from 16 yards after he latched onto Leighton Matthewson’s ball over the top on five minutes.
But the home side soon settled and they ought to have taken the lead themselves six minutes later when Danny Claridge’s cross from the left picked Ricky Hanson out unmarked at the back post, but Ryan Ramsden in the visitors’ goal was quick to react to Hanson’s six-yard header across the goal.
Ramsden was busy again soon after that, this time having to dive left to deny Shirebrook top-scorer Aaron Moxam with a shot from 25 yards on the right.
But there was absolutely nothing Ramsden could do on 23 minutes when Shirebrook right full-back Aaron Pride found the back of the net with a screamer from 30 yards on the right, which flew in low to the keeper’s left.
It was a great way for manager Kevin Gee’s latest addition to the squad to mark his debut for the Langwith Road side, and it was mostly all Shirebrook after that.
Hanson went close again on the half-hour, before Jordan Hall and Moxam had good chances in the final five minutes of the half to add to the home side’s score.
But Shirebrook only had the one goal to show for it going into the interval, and that made for a nervy start to the second half for the home side with Hall Road enjoying more possession in the opening 15 minutes than they probably had in the whole of the first 45 minutes.
For some reason Shirebrook seemed to have lost their earlier rhythm, yet Hall Road hardly threatened Sam Andrews’ goal as the home side at least stayed fairly solid at the back.
Meanwhile, Moxam tested Ramsden again at the other end on 73 minutes, before two well-taken goals barely a minute apart inside the last five minutes finally put the game to bed for the home side.
With the visitors pulled over to one side, Ricky Hanson latched onto a ball into space down the left and made it 2-0 on 85 minutes, cleverly nutmegging Ramsden with a shot from 16 yards.
Then Moxam made the points safe for the Langwith Road side, netting for the 33rd time this season for Shirebrook, this one coming in almost identical fashion to Hanson’s a few seconds earlier, but with Moxam coolly slipping the ball past Ramsden and into the bottom right hand corner of the Hall Road goal.
The win lifts Shirebrook Town one place to sixth place in the NCEL Divison One table, 10 points behind current leaders Shaw Lane Aquaforce and second-placed Cleethorpes Town, and they stay at Langwith Road on Saturday for the visit of third-placed Bottesford Town from the Scunthorpe area. Kick-off is at 3pm.
SHIREBROOK TOWN: Andrew, Pride, Claridge, Getliff, Henshaw, Witcombe, Hanson, Hall (Brown 73), Moxam, Ryan (Twell 73), Booth. Subs not used: Diuk, Bacon, Rowley.
HALL ROAD RANGERS: Ramsden, Knaggs, Matthewson, Clement, Walsh, McKay, Adams, Fisher (Sellars 61), Crane, Harrison (Foster 74), Kingsley (Silburn 66). Subs not used: None (all named subs used).
REFEREE: Alan Hull of South Yorkshire.