JAMMY LLOYD was the hero for Newark Flowserve as he came off the bench to plunder all three points for The Highwaymen at Lye Town to take the men in orange to second spot in the Midland Football League Premier Division on Saturday afternoon.
Some slick football proved to be the difference between two battling sides in the black country as the long journey to Stourbridge brought a rich reward for the travelling Flowserve and their hardy band of supporters.
Lye Town provided stern opposition despite their lowly third from bottom spot, and they raised their game as they made their home bow at The Sports Ground after taking two points from six games on the road because of shared cricket ground commitments.
It was a welcome return to a quaint and enchanting homestead that was a tribute to past endeavours, with an all-seated stand built in 1971 complementing a covered standing area with a barrel roof behind the goal at the clubhouse end.
And Lye responded with a rousing start, with their right winger Jack Till leading the charge in the early exchanges, despite looking like a Rugby Union second rower rather than a footballer.
The Newarkers made four changes to their side, with skipper Tom Potts returning from injury, Mitch Robinson making his debut at centre-half in place of the holidaying Lawrence Gorman, and Matt Cotton and Danny Meadows returning to the starting line-up after being benched in the Vase the previous week.
Robinson staked his claim to the man of the match honours with two stand-out interceptions early doors underlining his adaptability, with the latest arrival from last season’s MFL champions Ilkeston Town having scored 18 times as an attacking midfielder for Stapleford Town on their way to the Notts Senior League Premier Division title.
On 12 minutes the lively Meadows drilled a half volley just over the bar after good approach work by Sam Agar and the eager Cotton, with the latter looking keen to stake his claim after being benched following five successive starts.
Two minutes later Till failed to cash in when his unmarked header brought a stunning save out of Joe Searson as he clawed the ball over the top in his last game as a 20-year-old. A bright future awaits the likeable birthday boy.
The breakthrough came on 25 minutes when Meadows’ throw-in from the right was flicked on by the head of Agar and Kyle Dixon pounced in front of goal, cleverly driving the ball into the ground to allow the ball to bounce over the home custodian for his second of the campaign.
There was not much to relate until the closing two minutes of the first period when Robinson headed into the side-netting from Cotton’s corner from the left and then Searson rushed from his goal-line to save at the feet of a Lye marauder before a follow-up effort struck a post and Searson was able to gratefully pounce on the loose ball.
Lye Town’ play-acting at the start of the second period suckered the referee into a string of free-kicks, and a direct one from Ryan Bridgewater on 56 minutes brought another fine tip over from Searson.
From the resulting corner from left by con-man in chief Sammy Price, the ball was tucked home by an unmarked Mark Magee for the equaliser.
And that appeared to be it. Lye huffed and puffed and ten-man Flowserve (following the injured Cotton’s withdrawal after the three subs had been used) seemed bereft of ideas until a hopeful punt into the area from the left by Jack Andrews six minutes from time found substitute Jammy Lloyd ghosting in at the far post to plant his header into the net and seal all three points to take the men in orange to second spot in the Midland Football League Premier Division, just one point adrift of leaders Sporting Khalsa.
Newark Flowserve: 1 Joe Searson; 2 Ryan Ebanks; 3 Jack Andrews; 4 Tom Potts (captain); 5 Mitch Robinson; 6 Paulo Piliero (Jack Beckett 65mins); 7 Danny Meadows; 8 Kyle Dixon; 9 Ben Hutchinson (Elliot King 65mins); 10 Matt Cotton; 11 Sam Agar (Jammy Lloyd 78mins).