BEING on a disappointing run of form and having 5 key players unavailable through injury or family commitments is not ideal preparation for the visit of the league leaders.
A pudding of a pitch proved to be a great leveller throughout the match. Despite this, George IV did take an early lead, with a 22-yard free kick being delightfully despatched into the top right corner of the Sabden net.
Sabden responded strongly to the early set-back. Delicately crafted passes from new midfield partnership Joe Keane and Tom Diggins found several gaps in a surprisingly sluggish George IV backline and efforts from captain, Jason Bates and a follow up from Tom Connell, crept agonisingly wide, with the goalkeeper stranded.
Undaunted by the reputation of their opponents, Sabden continued to probe, and on 20 minutes, feisty left midfielder, Connell played a superb pass that Fallon, fired up after missing the kick-off, lashed beyond the George IV keeper for a Sabden equaliser.
George forward, Aaron Chapman squeezed home his second of the game in off the post to take a 2-1 lead into the interval.
Sabden started the second half very brightly. The Keane-Diggins midfield were battling hard and Bates and the outstanding Connell were the gladiators on the flanks. Not content with marshalling the backline, Dewhurst showed he can spot a pass by unleashing Fallon on the left. Taking the ball into the box, Fallon wrong-footed the trailing defender, and cut inside before coolly tucking the ball under the advancing keeper to level the score at 2-2.
The hour mark is so often an ill-omen for the Treacle Miners, and so it proved yet again. Sabden failed to clear their lines properly, and George IV were able to restore their lead with a cheeky lob over a stranded Turner in the Sabden goal.
Jay Bates then raced onto a through pass, strode into the area and took the ball around the keeper, who pulled Bates to the ground. As the referee placed whistle to mouth to award the penalty and most probably send the visiting keeper for an early bath, Bates got to his feet to try to propel the ball goalwards. The chance was snuffed out and George IV had a lucky escape.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes, George IV pulled themselves into a 5-2 lead as Sabden became ever more desperate to haul themselves back into the game.
On 82 minutes, and with the game now seemingly over, Joe Keane threaded a cute ball through and Bates this time did not allow the keeper any chance as he raced through before smashing the ball into the bottom corner with an immaculate finish to take the final score to 3-5.
So it was, that the league leaders left Nutter Barn, gratefully clutching 3 hard-earned points. Sabden continue to put in decent performances without the rewards that their hard work deserves – hopefully fortune will shine on them next week in the cup semi-final.