A combination of woeful finishing and sloppy defending cost Todmorden Borough dear as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat away to lowly Stoneclough last Saturday.
The loss leaves John Gilford’s side fourth from bottom of Division Two in the West League League and needing to find improvement, particularly in front of goal, if they are to get anything from a trip to leaders GSK Ulverston this weekend.
Stoneclough have found it hard going in recent years and had won only once this season prior to last Saturday.
However, Borough were unable to make their dominance tell, much to the dismay of Gilford.
He said: “They took their three chances and we must have missed about 20, including four of five one-on-ones when the ball hit the keeper’s legs or was sent wide.
“Their manager said afterwards ‘ how did that happen’ and I said ‘you scored three and we missed 20’.’
What made the defeat worse was that Borough got a flying start with a goal inside two minutes.
Chris Kay burst down the right and and Terry Lowe scored at the back post.
Stoneclough were level five minutes later from a knock down in the Borough box, Steve Barker tried to clear the ball off the line but only succeeded in putting it into his own net.
There was not a lot of midfield play on a smallish pitch but Borough were in the ascendancy.
Lowe broke down the left and beat four of five rivals before his shot hit a post.
All the visiting forwards and midfielders missed opportunities and although it remained 1-1 up to half time it seemed just a question of time before the visitors made their superiority tell.
However, Stoneclough took a surprise lead when Barker lost possession, a home forward raced down the right and the ball was tapped home from close range.
Borough’s miserable afternoon was completed five minutes from time when a long-range shot from the home side wide wide.
Gilford’s son Elliott, in goal, palmed down the ball, which had already gone out of play, in his efforts to take a quick goal kick. However, the referee awarded a corner from which the home side made the game safe.
Gilford senior concluded: “We didn’t play well but we still had more than enough chances to win the game.”
Jim Hardman will be attending a wedding and will miss the trip to Ulverston. Dan Lively or teenager Jim Crowther could replace him in midfield.