Steele makes it tough on Sports in narrow defeat

Andrew Stidder went close several times for Easington Sports
Andrew Stidder went close several times for Easington Sports

Easington Sports boss Phil Lines will be looking for his side to bounce back when they entertain UHLSport Hellenic League title chasers Fairford Town.

A solitary goal from Jake Steele ended Sports’ run of back-to-back Division One West wins at North Leigh United on Saturday. It was a game in which Sports created enough chances to not only have got a point but taken all three had they been more clinical in the final third.

Sports began well, Tom Smith headed over from a Lewis Travers corner. Moments later a free-kick from Travers found Josh Rose who saw his header saved by the keeper while Andrew Stidder’s shot was deflected wide.

In between, Alfie Saunders shot over and a neat move ended with Marley Joseph firing wide. But North Leigh broke the deadlock just before the break when a defensive slip presented Steele with a simple chance and he made no mistake from close range.

Sports still had chances to get on level terms before the break, Adil Hussain’s shot on the turn was deflected wide while Stidder’s shot was blocked for a corner. From Travers’ ensuing corner kick, Stidder’s effort was somehow scrambled off the line.

After the restart Josh Northam saw his low drive saved by the keeper before he found space in the six-yard box but could only fire just wide of the post. In between, Jack Goode turned away a shot from Ben Curtis who then headed over from the ensuing corner.

But it was all Sports in the closing stages as they pushed for the equaliser which never came as North Leigh defended in depth, getting in vital blocks at crucial times to preserve their slender advantage.

Despite their constant pressure, the nearest the visitors came to an equaliser was when Mike Spaull was denied by the keeper, Stidder shot wide from close range and Josh Rose headed on to the roof of the net.