Report by Christian James
A dominant away performance earned Sixth Form XI a 3-0 victory in turbulent conditions against KEVIGS Louth, in what is likely to be the side’s last game. Utilising a threadbare squad of just eleven, Mr Cope fielded a 4-4-2 formation, shifting Caswell and Graham to flank Gregory and Coulthurst in midfield as Lindsey and Timmins formed a makeshift forward duo. In defence Bargh filled in at left back, alongside Emerson, Carter and Haskins, and James made his goalkeeping debut.
Captain-for-the-day Emerson elected to play with the wind in the first half, although in truth the gusts were acting across the pitch more than down it. QEGS were put on the back foot in the first ten as Emerson and Carter were kept busy making regular clearances, James with little to do besides sniffing out the occasional low cross or through ball.
Within a quarter hour the visitors appeared to have acclimatised to their new structure, and Timmins and Lindsey began linking up with increasing success. Half-chances came and went for Timmins and Graham before Lindsey found the net midway through the first half with a neat side foot on the rebound. Half time arrived without further event after a 20-minute spell punctuated with driving rain and increasing cross winds, QEGS increasingly comfortable on the ball.
Now playing into the wind, Horncastle began the second half as they ended the first- on the ascendency. A long ball over the top found Caswell, who’s marauding run drew a foul inside the Louth penalty area, affording Timmins a chance to double the lead. The Horncastle Town man made no mistake from 12 yards, hesitating long enough to gauge the keeper’s intentions before slotting in agonisingly out of reach of the home custodian.
Commentator Martin Tyler is often heard stating that “sometimes a two-goal lead can be a dangerous one”, and it seemed to be case in point as Louth’s best three attempts all arrived with QEGS two to the good. Firstly, a speculative low drive from 20 yards was gathered by James, before further pressure saw space open up down the hosts’ attacking right. Heading beyond James’ reach the Louth frontman appeared to have reduced the arrears, only for the large puddle inside the six-yard box to stop the ball dead as it bounced, affording Haskins the opportunity to hack clear.
Louth found a way in behind for the third time shortly after in a three-on-one attack, but James’ desperate lunge afforded Emerson and Carter enough time to cover their stranded shot-stopper to produce three inspired goal-line blocks before the ‘keeper recovered to relieve the pressure.
With Louth desperately seeking a goal of their own, Horncastle’s frontline began finding large open spaces in behind, and with ten minutes to go the lead was up to three. Timmins’ original effort was fumbled into the path of Gregory, who shovel the ball in with a mixture of foot and shin to cement the victory for Mr Cope’s side.
Louth pushed in search of a consolation with reckless abandon, but only forged one further chance- James claiming a near-post cross from the hosts’ right flank to maintain the clean sheet.
QEGS Horncastle (4-4-2): Christian James, Christopher Bargh, Greg Carter, Sam Emerson ©, Oli Haskins, Tom Caswell, Dexter Coulthurst, Harry Gregory, Angus Graham, Alfie Lindsey, Jonathan Timmins.