Another improved performance from Town should have landed a share of the points at Brantingham Road on Saturday, but they went down to a 2-1 defeat to league leaders Maine Road.
Ste Edwards, Carl Osman and Chris Lomax, a new signing from Atherton LR, were outstanding for the visitors who were well worth a draw on a bitterly cold afternoon in Chorlton. They matched table-toppers Maine Road in every department. Osman found Edwards in space in the opening minutes but the experienced striker could not get enough power behind his shot to trouble home ‘keeper Hall. Five minutes later, new boy Lomax was narrowly wide with a bicycle kick before Town were called on to defend in numbers, as Kilheeney had a shot cleared off the line from a corner. Midway through the first half, Lomax had a powerful shot blocked by Gresty, then Scott McNair let rip from 35 yards with Hall just hanging on to his effort. Carl Osman saw two good long-range chances go narrowly wide before Town keeper Lee Novak pulled off a superb save from a powerful, glancing header by Bailey just before the break.
Full value for the 0-0 score-line at the interval, Town began the second half on the offensive as McNair went narrowly wide with a header. In the 53rd minute, Hall was fortunate to hold on to a great header by Edwards following a cross from Michael Sykes-Wright. On 66 minutes, with Town in the ascendancy, McNair set up Osman who was through on the keeper, but the ball skidded under the midfielder’s foot with the goal at his mercy.
Town finally got the goal their play so richly deserved on 69 minutes, when Williams scored with a screamer from 25 yards into the top corner but hardly had the celebrations died down, when Maine Road levelled; substitute Chappell heading in from a corner. Town were still creating chances, but Maine Road began to attack with more urgency and went close when Bentham blasted over the bar with the goal at his mercy. Town looked set for a share of the spoils as the game went into added time. However, their luck was to run out when four minutes into injury time and from another corner kick, Bentham found himself unmarked on the near post and he slotted home to secure the win.
Town have faced seven of the top eight clubs away from home already and, with 26 matches still to play, 16 of those are at home, so there is every hope that they will avoid finishing in the relegation places at the end of April. Town travel to Stockport Sports on Saturday 8th December, 3.00pm before entertaining Bootle next Tuesday (11th December), kick off 7.45pm at Edge Green Street, Ashton.