Sleights youngsters playing Howard’s way

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SLEIGHTS returned to winning ways and took revenge for an early-season defeat against visitors Ayton Reserves, at Caedmon on Saturday.

Last time these two met, Ayton celebrated a last-minute win against the run of play but this time around, Jim Howard’s men were in no mood to let the points go.

After being instructed to attack from the off, they tore into their opponents with Paul Hicks causing lots of trouble for the away defence, but it was his strike partner Mark McCarthy, who opened the scoring after just five minutes, following a good spell of passing by the home team.

With the hosts in the accendancy, player-manager Howard rolled back the years with a speculative 45-yard chip which the keeper fumbled straight into the path of Dave Webster, who doubled the lead.

After the interval, the home side continued to press with their short passing style and were rewarded with a third thanks to the tireless Marc Kipling, who notched his eighth goal of the season.

However, the best goal of the game fell to Hicks who rounded off a man of the match performance with an audacious 20-yard half-volley, which flew over the stranded keeper.

Ayton did get one back from a dubious penalty, after keeper Richard Coulson was ruled to have taken the man in a 50/50 challenge.

And a cool penalty may have ruined hopes of a clean sheet, but was nowhere near enough to ruin Sleights’ day.

Speaking to the Whitby Gazette, manager Howard declared his delight with the youngsters at his disposal.

He said: “The younger players are finding their feet now, they look confident on and off the ball, attacking with purpose and intent, but defending tactically and aware of situations.

“They have come on so much since the summer, and if they all stay together they could end up having a lot of success together.”

Sleights: Coulson, Graham, Christopher (T Smith 55), Hardy, Howard, Fawcett, I Smith, Webster, Kipling, McCarthy (Davies 80), Hicks (Cornforth 70).

Sleights man of the match: Paul Hicks; matchball sponsor: Fletcher & Woodhouse.

Sleights 4 Ayton Reserves 1