Manford Way Reserves fought from a goal down at the break to claim a victory over Lakeside United as David Hornsby scored a brace at the Robert Clark Leisure Centre.
Both sides had good chances in the first half, but neither side dominated as the hosts held a one-nil lead at the break, before a better second half from the visitors was enough to claim the three points.
The victory saw Manford Reserves close the gap to the leaders to 5-points, with 3-games in-hand, to keep the pressure of Hutton Reserves in the hunt for promotion, while the loss for Lakeside saw them remain 8th in the table.
The first 10 or so minutes produced nothing from both sides as the teams tried to not make a mistake in the midfield. Both sides looked to play the ball through the lines, but neither side had a decent chance at goal as the defences stood strong.
The first chance of the game came from the visitors as Fuad Ibrahim was played through, but his effort was saved before David Hornsby was denied by the keeper from the rebound. The forward sent another effort over the bar a minute later.
Despite the visitors have the only chances of the game, it was Lakeside who brought the deadlock, with 20-minutes on the clock. Dan Stokes was played through and slotted the ball in the far corner, to open the scoring with the hosts first shot of the game. It was almost a quick double as Alex Swann lined up a free-kick on the edge of the box, but his effort was comfortably held by the keeper.
Manford struggled to get the ball through the resilient Lakeside defence as a couple of passes were well cut out by the hosts. Holding the lead, Lakeside found themselves on the back foot towards the end of the first half. The ball found it’s way through to Shaun Goddard, but his shot was well blocked by the leg of the keeper before numerous shots were blocked by the hosts and a cross was hit over the bar. Goddard floated a free-kick towards the far post, but Charlie Parish’s header sent the ball just over the bar, before Gideon Sengulay-Thomas looked to deliver a low cross to Hornsby, but the keeper collected before the forward could get a foot onto it.
Right from the off in the second half, Manford looked like a dangerous side as they came out of the blocks flying. A ball was fired towards goal in the opening minute, but just eluded the top corner.
The early pressured paid off and within 3-minutes of the restart, Manford had found their equaliser. The ball found its way through to Hornsby, who slotted well beyond the keeper from close range. The visitors didn’t sit back though as within 2-minutes, they had doubled their tally as Hornsby scored a brace. The forward struck a wicked shot from distance, nestling his effort into the top corner and out of reach of the keeper.
Lakeside began to press the Manford goal as they looked to bring themselves back level in the game, but the visitors did well to repel the wave of attacks. Hornsby tried to get Manford on their way down the other end and was almost in for his hattrick, but the keeper cleared the danger.
Miles Buffong had a shot for the hosts, but his effort was fired over. The hosts remained pushing for an equaliser, but the game lost pace as Manford looked to defend their lead. Despite trying to come forward, Manford defended well with every ball being cleared as far as they could.
With a slender lead as the game moved into the final 10-minutes, Manford looked to extend their lead. Hornsby looked to square the ball to Josh Duah, but a defender cut out the ball before it could reach it’s target before James Dodson fired an effort over the bar and Duah’s shot minutes later was inched wide.
With less than a minute to play, the hosts pushed for the last time, but a Stokes effort was fired inches wide of the post.