North West Counties Football League Division One South

Cheadle Heath Nomads 3

St Martins 2

An EARLY two-goal lead wasn’t enough for Saints as their ambitions of a top-half finish took a blow.

Thomas Ash fired home the game’s opening goal after a minute of play before Karl Bailey doubled their lead before 15 minutes of play.

The next goal of the game came for Nomads halfway through the first half, before a Richard Tindall double in the second half meant the good start for the Saints was made redundant.

St Martins fielded just 10 players at the start of the fixture, after injuries have piled up.

Despite being a man down from the off, Dan Stevens’ side couldn’t have asked for a better start after taking the lead after just 45 seconds.

Harvey Plimmer picked up the ball and made his way down the left-hand side of the pitch before whipping a cross into the area towards Ash, who met the ball and fired in from close-range.

The opening 10 minutes was dominated by the visiting Saints side who put a great amount of pressure and won the ball back high up the pitch on a number of occasions.

St Martins were having a lot of success down the left of the pitch, with Plimmer causing problems for the defence.

The visitors doubled their lead after 15 minutes when Plimmer played a ball from wide through the defence to Bailey who took a touch before slotting it past the Nomads’ keeper.

St Martins were looking comfortable, however the home team started to grow into the game as it progressed.

Nomads came close to pulling a goal back when Stephen Kirby’s effort from a free-kick was denied by a superb stop by George Austin.

However, moments later Nomads had the ball in the back of the net.

A corner swung into the area was met by the head of Andrew Simpson who fired the ball into the top corner of the net.

Nomads came close to an equaliser on the brink of half-time when a cross headed towards goal beat Austin and hit the post before rolling along the line and being collected by the Saints keeper.

It was certainly a game of two halves when Nomads returned to the field after the break looking like a different team.

Despite an early chance for Bailey when Plimmer played him in behind the defence again, the hosts looked stronger.

It took them until just after the hour mark to draw level when Tindall scored his first of the game with another header from a corner to make the score 2-2.

They looked set to take the lead when there was some penalty drama after 70 minutes of play.

The referee pointed to the spot and Nomads found the net, but the referee made the side re-take the penalty which was then missed.

St Martins were unable to keep the score level for much longer however and with minutes remaining, Tindall headed home a cross to deliver a painful end to the game for the Saints.

Tindall’s afternoon was cut short by a few minutes late into injury time when he slid into Austin and was shown a straight red card.

St Martins next take on New Mills at home on Saturday.