SLEIGHTS FC got the new year under way with a trip to bottom of the league Scalby Reserves on a blustery Saturday, only to find they were up against several first teamers.
Undeterred, the visitors pressed from kick-off and were rewarded with a goal inside two minutes when James Fawcett did his best Gascoigne impression, shimmying around three defenders before opening his body to strike the ball against keeper and defender on its way into the net.
Despite several shots being saved by the impressive home keeper, with Andy Hardy, Theo and Ian Smith all going close, the hosts levelled against the run of play.
However, with 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Sleights re-took the lead thanks to leading scorer Ian Smith’s 12th goal of the season.
A third followed on the stroke of half time when a long free-kick from player-boss Jim Howard bounced awkwardly in the Scalby box, where Fawcett tapped the ball into the back of the net.
The second half began with the Sleights players looking to get a hold of the game, but it was the home side who had the majority of the ball, pressing the issue and forcing Sleights’ back four and keeper into last ditch blocks.
Marc Kipling and Theo Smith came close at the other end, before Howard introduced highly-rated teenager Isaac Christopher on the left of midfield, who impressed with both his attacking skills and defensive capabilities.
Scalby carved out some limited chances late on, but nothing the visitors couldn’t handle.
Howard concluded: “We expected an easier game today.
“We didn’t think we would be competing against first-teamers, but it shows how far this young team of mine has come in such a short space of time, to be able to cope with obstacles like this.
“We have thrown ourselves back into the mix of the five or six teams who are capable of challenging for second place.
“If we can get through this month with two more wins, we will be in a very healthy position and quite possibly, have it in our own hands, with games against the top teams to come from February onwards.”
Sleights FC: Coulson, McCarthy, Howard, Hardy, Locker (c), Kipling, Fawcett, I Smith, Hicks, Ingham(Christopher 65), T Smith.
Man of the Match: Kristian Locker; club sponsor: The Little Angel
Scalby Reserves 1 Sleights FC 3