LRFC’s winning streak comes to an end
A slightly off colour LRFC took an early lead through striker Mark Green, but the home side battled back well – and understood the referee better – to take all three points and leapfrog the Road in MFL Division 1.
They started the quicker and after just a minute had the chance to go ahead when a cute dummy set up their winger Shepherd, one-on-one, with Road keeper Will Highland, but it was ballooned over the bar.
But from their first meaningful attack on 10 mins, LRFC took the lead with a well worked goal – Amarvir Sandhu jinked and twisted on the right to get in a pinpoint cross that Green – lurking on the penalty spot – glanced in perfectly to the top corner.
On 18 mins a lovely move down the left wing between Jack Harrison and Matt Langham set up Jordan Burrows but he was just inches wide from a second, but then Lichfield again fluffed their lines on 20 mins when a scuffed shot across Highland should have done better.
However, Lichfield made no mistake on 25 mins when a header wasn’t cleared properly from a corner and it fell to their lively midfielder Hartshorne, who struck a half volley from the edge of the area that gave Highland no chance.
Shortly after Langham had a rasping drive well saved by the Lichfield keeper and Callum Rudd made an excellent last-ditch block, but on 35 mins the first of a few contentious decisions went against the Road – Sandhu driving through the middle was taken out on the edge of the area and when the ball fell to Langham and he stroked it home, the referee bizarrely gave a free kick and no advantage.
Rudd drew another fine save from the home keeper on 39 mins with a towering header, while Lichfield hit the top of the bar just before half time with a deflected shot, so it was honours even at half time - but with the temperature simmering as Burrows was forced off for treatment just before the 45 mins were up after a late challenge that went unpunished.
The home side again started the brighter and Rudd blocked on the six yard line with his head, although Highland had it covered – but on 47 mins a through ball down the left saw City’s Taylor just get to it before High- land and trickle it into the far corner from a tight angle.
It remained nip and tuck with the Road pressing for an equaliser, but on 72 mins a bout of handbags ensued when a chest high challenge on Road captain Marlon Walters – who then pulled the offending player back - again went unpunished. It was obviously playing on the referee’s mind, because minutes later when Burrows contested a 50/50 ball on the edge of the area, he was perhaps harshly shown a straight red.
A goal and now a player down, the Road had it all to do – but kept on fighting with Rudd again going close with a set play header. In pushing forward for an equaliser, however, they conceded a third on 80 mins when Hartshorne got his second with a cross-come-shot from the right that nestled into the bottom corner.
Sandhu’s chip past the advancing keeper was scrambled away at the second attempt and Langham’s lob over him as he misjudged the flight terribly was just agonisingly wide, but it proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the Road – with their fluid approach play not at its usual high standards.
Starting X1: Highland, Alcott, Rudd, Earls, Harrison, Charles, Walters©, Burrows, Sandhu, Green Langham. Subs: Blewitt (GK), Humphreys, Whitehouse, Grocott.
Amarvir Sandhu in action for Leicester Road FC at the weekend