MATCH VERDICT: Missed chances so costly for Deeping Rangers
A stunning free-kick, missed chances and key decisions sent Deeping Rangers to a derby-day defeat in their opening league game of the season.
They should have come away from Eslaforde Park with at least one point on Wednesday night.
But they were unable to extend the winning run at Sleaford Town’s home into a sixth successive season as David Hone fired in the only goal.
Former Greens skipper Scott Coupland - who hit a first-half double in last year’s fixture - was denied twice by keeper Alex Smith’s feet and a tap-in was disallowed for offside.
Strike partner Scott Mooney should have done better when he missed the target soon after Hone’s 25-yard free-kick into the top corner of the net.
Moments earlier Mooney had been pulled back but Leigh Warman was only booked for what might have been adjudged to be a professional foul and a sending-off offence.
Mooney saw a header cleared off the line following a corner when his thunderbolt had been pushed wide by Smith.
Although Deeping continued to pass the ball and pose problems, they had a lucky escape when keeper Richard Stainsby kicked Joe Smith’s drive onto the post.
A competitive contest ended in controversy as Rangers’ penalty appeals for handball were rejected and Jason Kilbride’s free-kick on the edge of the box was deflected wide.
But they paid the price for a failure to convert any of those opportunities as Sleaford held on.
4-4-2: A Smith; Greenwood, Hone, Warman (sub J Smith 55 mins), Hollingworth; Anderson, Pemberton, Ward, Asplin; Oliver (sub Wright 74 mins), Siddons (sub Griffiths 60 mins). Subs not used: Lynch, Stubbs.
4-3-1-2: Stainsby 6; Flack 6, Hunnings 6, Madigan 6, Smith 6; Lewis 6 (sub Avis 68 mins, 6), Burton-Jones 7, Dunn 6 (sub Bird 76 mins); Coulson 6 (sub Kilbride 76 mins); Mooney 6, Coupland 6. Subs not used: Clay, Bircham.
REFEREE David Avison
Hone (13 mins, 1-0).
Warman, Pemberton, Hone, Mooney, Ward (fouls); Oliver (time-wasting); Flack (dissent); Griffiths (unsporting behaviour).
CHROMASPORT & TROPHIES UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE
Premier Division: Peterborough Northern Star 1 Huntingdon 2, Rothwell Corinthians 2 Harborough 1, Sleaford 1 Deeping 0.
Division One: Blackstones 0 Melton 4, Bugbrooke St Michaels 4 Lutterworth 0.
CHROMASPORT & TROPHIES PETERBOROUGH & DISTRICT LEAGUE
Premier Division: Deeping Res 1 Crowland 2, Peterborough Sports Res 1 Netherton 1, Stamford Lions 2 Langtoft 3, Stilton 2 AFC Stanground 1, Wisbech Res 2 Leverington 1.
Division One: Kings Cliffe 2 Oundle 1, Peterborough Polonia 4 Netherton Res 2.