Parson Drove lost 3-0 to Huntingdon Town after a hot-headed opening ten minutes in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North encounter
A number of familiar problems plagued Parson Drove as they slipped to a 3-0 home defeat against Huntingdon Town.
In what was a fifth defeat in seven Thurlow Nunn League First Division North fixtures, Drove once again shot themselves in the foot during a hot-headed ten minute period.
In the opening nine minutes at Main Road, Robbie Harris and Gary Haime’s side conceded an avoidable set-piece goal and had Karl Anderson sent off for a lunging challenge.
And in all honesty, they were lucky not to have Gaje Drew given his marching orders just moments later after he committed an almost identical offence.
After going down to ten men, Drove performed admirably and prevented their third-placed opponents from creating too many clear-cut chances.
They had a goal ruled out for offside after a good CJ Lewis run had set Nick Davey free, before Lewis himself fired an effort wide of the target.
Ryan Lennon shot straight at the Huntingdon goalkeeper before the away side struck the crossbar with a thunderous effort from 30 yards.
They should have doubled their lead when Jermaine Watson was rounded, but the opposing striker could only blaze over an empty net.
A head knock to Huntingdon's goalkeeper brought play to a halt for nearly ten minutes and took the sting out of a fiery first half, but they doubled their lead not too long afterwards.
Their second goal was again from a set piece that should have been cleared earlier, with defender Jay Chilvers bagging his second of the afternoon.
A stop-start second 45 minutes seen very little created by either side, with Watson making a couple of smart stops to keep his side in the game.
Huntingdon rounded off the scoreline late on with Drove legs tiring.
A mazy run from one of their substitutes resulted in a cutback for a simple finish, with the 3-0 scoreline complete.
Questions were left hanging over what might have been if it hadn’t been for those manic opening ten minutes. Drove were by no means the better side and their opponents could afford to take their foot off the gas, but they weren’t anything special.
Harris himself said he doesn’t think Huntingdon will finish too high in the league this season, and his team could have had an opportunity to take points if they kept all their players on the pitch.
Josh Lewis looked impressive at the back, doing well on the majority of occasions up against a very quick Huntingdon striker who pressed at every opportunity. He tended to build play well from the back, although was occasionally guilty of playing aimless balls over the top of the opposing defence.
CJ Lewis was dangerous on the break, and many of Drove’s best moments came through him. He tested the away side’s goalkeeper on a few occasions, and had a good tussle with their right back.
Lennon was impressive up front considering the circumstances, closing down well and leading counter attacks.
His strike partner Davey could have been more effective when trying to hold the ball up - which his team-mates clearly wanted him to do.
When you're playing with ten men you need the ball to stick, and it didn't do so enough.
With a touch of better game management, Drove could have kept the scoreline down and given themselves a chance of nicking a point.
Goalkeeper Watson, for example, was too often guilty of rushing long goal kicks into the final third when it was one against four in Huntingdon’s favour.
By doing so, he would ignore good counter attacking options in wide areas of the pitch.
Drove did look as though they lacked a little bit of mobility in the middle of the park at times, and were too easily bypassed in transition on occasion. Of course, playing with ten men will have contributed to that.
Naturally, it was that red card that really hindered their hopes. If Harris and Haime can make sure their players cut out these moments of madness, they’ll be better equipped to pick up points as the season progresses.