Four ‘cup finals’ to save Sleights’ season

Sleights and Ayton contest a corner'picture: Brian Murfield
Sleights and Ayton contest a corner'picture: Brian Murfield
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Sleights took a huge step towards Scarborough League first division safety on Saturday after an impressive victory over fellow strugglers Ayton, despite falling behind to an early goal.

Player-manager Jim Howard has described the end of the season as “four cup finals” after Saturday’s win.

Sleights keeper Ian Rhucroft holds on'picture: Brian Murfield

Sleights keeper Ian Rhucroft holds on'picture: Brian Murfield

Mike Grayshan opened the scoring for the visitors early on, only for the experienced former Goldsborough left-back Ed Turner to level on the half-hour mark.

Mike Dent then struck to put the villagers ahead for the first time. That was quickly followed by skipper James Fawcett’s third goal in four games to make it 3-1 at the break.

The second half saw Sleights dominate as Ben Watson netted his ninth of the season, with a spectacular overhead kick.

Man of the match Luke Asbury and Tom Kilpatrick then had Sleights comfortable before Shaun Fell notched for Ayton, five minutes from time.

James Fawcett nets Sleights' third goal against Ayton'picture: Brian Murfield

James Fawcett nets Sleights' third goal against Ayton'picture: Brian Murfield

Boss Jim Howard said: “It’s a cliche but we had five cup finals [before last Saturday] to prove we are good enough for this league.

“To stay up will be a massive achievement and that was always the goal.

“It’s been a long hard season but that is still our aim.

“I’m very proud of the lads’ application, determination and sheer will to win every loose ball which eventually was too much for a spirited Ayton.”

The nets come down at the end of the Sleights v Ayton match at Caedmon'picture: Brian Murfield

The nets come down at the end of the Sleights v Ayton match at Caedmon'picture: Brian Murfield

Next up for Sleights is a long trip to Filey Town on Saturday (Feb 14), 2pm kick-off. They visit relegation rivals Ryedale at the end of the month, ahead of home games with title-chasers Edgehill and West Pier.

Sleights 6 Ayton 2

The Ayton defence cannot believe they have let Sleights score again'picture: Brian Murfield

The Ayton defence cannot believe they have let Sleights score again'picture: Brian Murfield