Hurst Green 0, Lostock St Gerard’s 3
Third placed Hurst Green welcomed table-topping Lostock St Gerard’s to Smithy Row.
Green were keen to avenge an early season defeat and to cement their place in the top three, but Lostock had other ideas.
A young, quick and determined side, they asked questions of the villagers from the first whistle.
A flurry of early corners failed to produce a reward, and the hosts who had the first real opportunity when a cross from McLean was pawed off the head of Coar by the keeper.
On 17 minutes, Lostock’s efforts produced dividends. A punch from Green keeper, Chester fell to a Lostock player, and after a scramble, Sanderson poked home.
The usually solid Hurst Green midfield seemed to struggle against the constant pressing of Lostock, with the Saints winning the bulk of the ball.
Seedall had to make an enforced substitution when Tipton pulled up with a hamstring problem, to be replaced by Aspinwall.
It was no surprise then to see Lostock extend their lead on 39 minutes. Right back Welch’s attempted headed clearance merely flew across the face of goal, and, with the keeper stranded, Sanderson shot into an open goal for his second of the match.
Green woke up in the second half, and started to show more composure and endeavour. However, even the introduction of forwards Walker and Mort, making his first team debut, could not produce a shot of note.
Mort did find himself with an opportunity to find the net, but was impeded by one of his own players as he went for the header.
With a healthy crowd urging Green to find the goal that would bring them back into the game, the home team showed flickers of what they are capable of.
However, pressing forward in search of a goal inevitably left gaps at the back. On 86 minutes, Gilmore latched on to a long ball that caught out the defence. His powerful shot from 12 yards was parried by Chester, but had enough on it to creep over the line.
Hurst Green could have no complaints about the defeat. Lostock’s celebrations at the end of the game perhaps suggested the respect with which Hurst Green are held, and demonstrated how far they have come in such a short time.