BILLINGE fell to just their second defeat of the season when they lost 2-1 at Denton Town on Saturday.

The Storks were forced to give five players their first team debuts as the club struggles with the worst injury list in many seasons.

With the new players settling into the game it was hardly surprising that a good Denton side were first out of the blocks as Jean Bian Sumba headed over the bar on six minutes.

Two minutes later Dan Havern ­— who is the fourth keeper to start for Billinge this term ­— saved brilliantly from Dan Heffernan who was through on goal.

Denton's early pressure was now contained and Liam Platt headed over from a corner after good work from another Storks debutant Josh Winthrop.

However on 25 minutes the home side went ahead when the smallest player on the pitch Godfred Amankwaa met a corner - evaded all the Billinge players - and headed home past Havern.

Billinge finished the half strongly as man-of-the-match Richie Allen almost latched onto a Winthrop through-ball then moments later got his head on the end of a terrific Phil Dearden cross making the Denton keeper Aaron Dollard pull off a great save to deny the combative midfielder.

The second half was a turgid affair until the 75th minute when two Billinge debutants combined as substitute Lucas Weir played Tom Hilditch in on goal but the youngster's shot was saved.

From the long clearance Ryan Platt misjudged the flight of the ball as Amankwaa stole in for his and Denton's second.

The Storks response was almost immediate as they took the game to Denton.

On 82 minutes Weir's free-kick went just over the bar and then Allen had another header superbly saved by Dollard a minute later.

However from the resultant Weir corner Ryan Platt glanced the ball home to make up for his earlier error, halve the deficit and set up a barnstorming finish.

On 85 minutes Allen had a glorious chance to grab a point for Billinge as he found himself through on goal but blasted the ball over the bar and despite pushing hard for the remainder of the game Denton held on to the 2-1 victory.

After the game a disappointed but philosophical manager Matt Potter said: "Considering we had so many players making their debut the scoreline isn't too bad.

"I'm just disappointed that we didn't really take the game to Denton until we had gone two down but to be fair to them they defended well and stopped us getting any shots off.

"We've been decimated by injuries but there is light at the end of the tunnel and we expect a few back next week.

"That said the youngsters that came in today did well but when we get all the senior players back we will be some force and will be there or thereabouts."

The defeat leaves Billinge in third place in the Cheshire Football League Premier Division.

This Saturday (15 September 2018) they entertain last season's runners-up Malpas in a 3pm kick-off.