Newark Town suffered a 7-2 home defeat to a clinical Clay Cross Town in the Central Midlands Football League North Division
Damo Parkinson led his Newark Town side out at Station Road for the first time as bottom welcomed top in the Central Midlands Football League.
As the Saturday FA Cup fixtures came to an end, there was upsets up and down the country, but the same couldn’t be said for Town as league leaders Clay Cross Town ran out 7-2 winners.
A much-improved performance from a revamped Town side was tainted by three goals in the final ten minutes that allowed Clay Cross to add to an unreflective scoreline, in what was an evenly contested fixture for the large part.
But, despite the loss, Town manager Parkinson was happy with his team’s performance.
“They (Clay Cross) were very clinical,” he said. “The first 65 to 70 minutes were great and I am really pleased with that.
“The boys took the message that we have been pushing in training sessions and they are asking questions of themselves and playing the way we want to.
“We won’t lose many games if we play like that every week. We just need to keep going for 90 minutes.”
With notable changes at the heart of the defence and midfield, James Evans and Luke Boddy were added to the starting 11 as Kieran Job led the line.
“We tried to play, but just weren’t as clinical,” Parkinson said.
“Against Askern we were direct and fired the ball up the pitch, but on Saturday, it was different, and were going to commit to playing against teams now.
“It’s a shame because it doesn’t look like we gave them a game, but they were panicking and at 3-2, it was anybody’s game.”
The scoring opened in the 17th minute as Any Lynam put the Millers ahead with a well-taken finish.
Town’s first-half performance left the visitors frustrated and in added time, Boddy contributed to Clay Cross’ exasperation when he equalised.
Although, in dramatic fashion, the visitors managed to go into the break ahead through Lynam’s deflected effort, which was the last kick of the half.
The second period started with the same end-to-end action that the 69 spectators at Station Road had seen in the final moments of the first.
On 51 minutes, and after three passes were made within the Town penalty box, Josh Parfitt’s strike made it 3-1.
Two minutes later, Job, who had an excellent game for Town, poked the ball in from two yards out, after bravely winning a challenge against the goalkeeper.
Chances at both ends followed as Evans cleared the ball off the line and sparked a counter-attack that saw Rhys Stanley dribble past two opponents and hit an effort just wide of the post from 25 yards out.
Another great opportunity fell Town’s way, but Job’s header was easily dealt with by the opposition glovesman.
With Newark failing to equalise, Grant Mitchell’s goal for Clay Cross followed and the two-goal lead took the wind out of the Town players, who had worked tirelessly.
Callam Lytham added the away sides fifth as he finished off a counter-attack in what was proving to be a clinical second-half showing.
With 90 minutes played, Lynam completed his hat-trick with two quick-fire efforts.
His first a delightful lob at the back-post as the visitors profited from a quick switch of play, while his second, was arguably goal of the match as the forward won possession on the halfway line and lobbed Town’s man-of-the-match, Josh Desforges, from nearly 50 yards out.
Town are again at home on Saturday as they welcome third-placed Retford United to Collingham’s Station Road, in a fixture Parkinson has described as a free hit.
“No one is expecting us to take anything from the game other than myself,” he said.
“It will be a good chance to go at them, and then after that, we are looking at a run of very winnable fixtures.”