Sandbach United fell to an away defeat at Ellesmere Rangers despite a fightback

By Guest

21st Nov 2022 | Local Sport

Written by Jay Rowland

The Ramblers welcomed Kieran O'Connell back to the club, and back to the starting line-up in place of Liam Fitzpatrick, whose return to first team action is being carefully managed following his concussion against Ashville.

Lewis Barker was also missing as he manages his own return after a long-term absence, whilst Harry Cain was only fit enough to make the bench, alongside new signing Kieran Alley.

Ellesmere took the lead through a controversial penalty in the 10th minute. After an innocuous collision between O'Connell and the advancing forward, the referee pointed immediately to the spot despite signals from the assistant referee that suggested otherwise. Ellesmere took full advantage and dispatched the spot-kick to put themselves ahead.

Sandbach almost equalised minutes after going behind as a left-footed effort from George West was saved well by Jack Boswell.

The hosts doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute after a stray Stan Tatters pass was intercepted and played through to Karl Bailey, who controlled the pass before lashing an excellent finish into the far corner.

Ellesmere scored a third against the run of play after a low shot on the counter was parried away by Eric Merner, but only to the waiting Bailey to slot into the empty net.

Sandbach pulled a goal back in the 38th minute through Josh Oultram, as he leapt above the defence to steer a header into the bottom right corner, leaving Boswell rooted to the spot.

The second half was one-way traffic for the majority, with Sandbach often camped around the Ellesmere box with no route through.

West thought he had brought Sandbach within reach when he found space and fired on target, but a wonder save from Boswell tipped the strike onto the post. Substitute Alley powered the rebound back on target, but a desperate clearance off the line from Ellesmere preserved their two-goal advantage.

The biggest chance after that fell to fellow substitute Cain, who met a wonderful Callum Chapman cross with a flick at the near post that flew millimetres wide of the far post, with a relieved Ellesmere able to regroup at the goal kick.

The hosts defence withstood a barrage of attacks in the second half to keep Sandbach out and held on for an important victory, seeing them consolidate their 3rd-place position in the league, only 5 points from top spot.

Sandbach remain in 7th ahead of their midweek fixture away to Eccleshall.

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