Sleaford are just edged out by the league leaders

Player-boss Tom Ward praised his Sleaford Town players after the narrow 3-2 loss at league leaders Loughborough Students on Saturday.

Ryan Flitton celebrates scoring his free-kick at Loughborough. Photo: Steve W Davies Photography.
Ryan Flitton celebrates scoring his free-kick at Loughborough. Photo: Steve W Davies Photography.

The win keeps their hosts five points clear at the top, 16 points ahead of Sleaford who have three games in hand as they sit in fifth place in the United Counties League Premier North.

And although Sleaford came away with nothing, Ward took heart from the display.

He told the club’s social media channel: “I thought the boys were absolutely superb. I think Loughborough had three shots and three goals which probably shows how much we were on top for long periods, and to come here and do that is tremendous, so I’m delighted.

"We had a lot of new faces in the team so the amount of information they’ve taken on in a short time to then go toe-to-toe with [Loughborough] is really pleasing.

"The way we are at the moment we can’t mix it with the big spenders, so we need to go out and find a few gems and we’re enjoying doing that.

"It gives us a chance to coach them from a young age and bring on what we’re trying to do and trying to achieve.”

Dylan Edwards put the hosts in front early on, but Sleaford levelled on 24 minutes when Ward’s effort was saved and Joey Smith followed up to score.

Josh Wicks restored the Students’ lead on 37, before Ryan Flitton’s fine free-kick brought the Greens back level again four minutes later.

However, Wicks struck again early in the second-half with what would eventually be the winner, Mitch Griffiths hitting the crossbar for Sleaford late on but they couldn’t quite find another equaliser.

Sleaford now prepare for a big local derby on Saturday as Boston Town are the visitors, being just two places and one point behind the Greens in the league standings.

Ward added: “We love those games and playing against good teams – the points we tend to drop seem to be the gimmes, maybe that’s a motivational thing but it’s something we’ve looked at and tried to address.

"The big games, we tend to be up for and play our best stuff so hopefully the fans will come out in good numbers for us again and give us that extra push we need.”