Peel steels show in Athletic fightback

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A ROUSING second half fightback from two goals down landed Loftus Athletic the points in a ding-dong encounter at Lealholm.

Lealholm started the better team and were on the scoresheet after three minutes when Sam Crooks hit a speculative shoot across a crowded goalmouth and somehow the ball found its way into the goal.

Loftus replied swiftly when Lealholm failed to clear a loose ball, which fell perfectly for Matty Griffin to strike home from the edge of the penalty area.

Minutes later, after good pressure from the home side, Lealholm were awarded a penalty which Crooks converted.

Lealholm at this stage were the better team and having more of the ball, adding a third goal when the Loftus keeper misjudged a pick-up on the edge of the penalty area.

Anth Morgan capitalised to score with the keeper stranded out of his goal.

Lealholm had a big shout for a penalty on 40 minutes, when Morgan was strongly tackled in the penalty area, the referee waved away their appeals.

Loftus were not playing their best football but continued to work hard to stay in the game and Tony Sivils reduced the arrears when he got a good touch from a long throw-in, heading the ball home.

In the second half, Lealholm fell away as Loftus took a grip of the game.

Poor marking allowed Greg Peel to score for the visitors.

At this point, Peel stole the show with two more great individual goals.

His second was a neat piece of footwork to lose his marker and then to turn and place the ball past the keeper.

This was followed by a great solo effort when he took on a mazy run through the heart of the home defence and rounded the keeper to tap the ball into an empty net.

Lealholm tried to raise their game again, but Loftus defence stood firm.

Lealholm 3 Loftus Ath 5