Nine-man Hemsworth MW lose out to top three rivals

Nash Connolly, who scored twice for Hemsworth MW.
Nash Connolly, who scored twice for Hemsworth MW.

Hemsworth MW missed a chance to climb into the top three in the Premier Division of the Toolstation NCE League when they suffered a home defeat to title rivals Knaresborough Town.

Wayne Benn’s men went into last Saturday’s contest just two points behind third-placed Knaresborough and off the back of a brilliant 6-1 success against Garforth Town the previous week.

They began like they meant business again as Nash Connolly took just five minutes to fire Wells in front as he put away a cross from the left.

Conditions proved difficult with a strong wind, driving rain and freezing temperatures and after the flying start chances were at a premium for the rest of the first half.

Jordan Greaves was forced into a save to deny Town’s Steve Bromley while at the other end Jack Rushworth had to parry away a dangerous cross from the left with Bradley Dockerty ready to pounce to add to his season’s tally of goals.

Brad Walker went close for Knaresborough and Gregg Anderson saw a shot cleared off the line, but half-time arrived with the hosts still one up.

Hemsworth flew out of the traps after the break only for the Town keeper to make a save then the visitors to level the game just four minutes into the half.

Conor Donoghue played the ball forward for Bromley to head on and Josh Garbutt to volley home.

Greaves came to the rescue as he saved a shot by Ben Cohen following Walker’s strong run.

With the wind in their favour Knaresborough were looking more dangerous than earlier and Will Lenehan missed a good chance.

Hemsworth broke quickly, however, and Connolly doubled his tally as he shook off Donoghue’s challenge and calmly drew Rushworth before shooting home.

The lead was only to last four minutes this time, though, with Cohen collecting Luke Stewart’s pass to make it 2-2.

Wells’ hopes of shrugging off this disappointment were not helped when they then went down to 10 men with Stephen Wakefield sent-off.

They held on for a spell with Greaves making a good save to keep out Stewart. But in the 83rd minute, Knaresborough were not to be denied as Cohen scored his second from a narrow angle after Stewart’s effort had been stopped by Greaves.

Hemsworth then went down to nine men as captain Jason Yates was red carded and their efforts were over with Knaresborough able to see out the final minutes.

The defeat could prove more costly for Wells with two players set for suspensions to miss some important games to come.

Hemsworth will be looking to bounce back this Saturday, but face another tough game when away to Bottesford Town, who stand four places below them yet are only two points behind.