St Helens Town 4-2 Cheadle Town

Thursday night football. Hardly a novelty to those whose teams have been in the Europa League but something relatively new for us, the last occasion being at the end of the 2007-08 season when fixtures had to be shoehorned in (a 0-5 defeat at Ashton Athletic, in case you were wondering).

Most certainly not a novelty to us is coming away with a defeat having created enough chances to have been in a comfortable position by half-time.

As early as the 7th minute Mike Sherrington squared from the right for Nathan Tosum but the resulting effort was blocked by the keeper; one of those where a couple of inches either side of the keeper would have resulted in a goal.

Joe Shaw met a corner with a firm header on the 16th minute that was blocked on the line before we finally made our bright start pay on the 22nd minute.

Thabiso Magida's run down the left saw him whip the ball in and, following a fluffed effort and a ricochet, Mike Sherrington finally tucked the ball home with ease.

Mike was in again down the left just four minutes later but ended up blazing his shot over the bar after working himself into a good position before the hosts cast their first shot across our bows on the half hour mark; Steve Piggott somehow managing to get the finest of fingertips to a low, skidding shot and tip it onto the post.

Steve was called into action again right on the half-time mark, beating away a shot after a slip-up in defence but at the break, and albeit only 1-0 to us, we looked to be comfortable.

Alas, in the first 15 minutes of the second half, the wheels fell off.

And those "fine margins" that I seemingly mention every week were at play again.

On the 48th minute Magida's cross from the right fell perfectly to the feet of Nathan Tosum. After digging the ball out he looked to be in a good position to score but harmlessly planted his effort straight at the keeper. Straight down the other end St Helens get a penalty and covert it to level matters.

Three minutes later and Korie-Butler's speculative long-range effort somehow deceives Steve Piggott and finds the corner of the net.

Add another six minutes and a cross from the right finds Edwards unmarked on the far side of the box and with time to pick his spot and rifle in an unstoppable effort.

From 1-0 up to 1-3 down in the blink of an eye.

Matters were made worse by an altercation in the centre circle that saw St Helens Town reduced to ten men and, with the home crowd's hackles now well-and-truly raised, the hosts were spurred on to score a fourth on 66 minutes. Steve Piggott had made a good stop to parry a drive from the right but the ball span up onto the head of the onrushing Gillespie to nod home.

Mindful of the fact that we had clawed an unlikely draw from a similar position back at Park Road earlier on in the season, the home crowd went quiet when Matt German almost reduced arrears moments later and were no doubt biting their fingernails when Nathan Tosum tucked home Magida's cross on 75 minutes.

Matters would have been made very interesting had Liam Tongue's free-kick whistled a couple of inches the other side of the post on 77 minutes and Joe Shaw's effort at the far post on 84 minutes had not been excellently saved by the keeper.

No cases of lightning striking twice here.

In another 24 hours or so from now we go again at home to Ashton Town who are having a worse season than us, but have markedly just come away from City of Liverpool with a creditable draw....


TEAM: Piggott, Todd, Pearson, German, Tongue, Shaw, Hincks, Russell, Tosum, M Sherrington, Magida. SUBS: Crosthwaite, Wood, Morrison, Banda.