Early-season form returns for Millers

Evo-Stik Division One South

Lincoln United 1, New Mills 2

ARGUABLY New Mills’ best performance since the opening weeks of the season saw them deservedly take the three points from play-off contenders Lincoln United on Saturday.

Carlos Meakin made a welcome return to The Millers’ midfield after recovering from knee surgery and he nearly made the perfect comeback in only the third minute. Dave Fitzpatrick was felled around 30 yards from goal and Meakin’s trademark free-kick unluckily cannoned back off the underside of the bar with keeper Phil McGann a helpless spectator.

The game was stopped shortly after following a sickening collision of heads between Stuart Reddington and Mike Bowler. Bowler was able to continue after treatment but the home defender had to be replaced after suffering a nasty-looking cut to the side of his head.

New Mills continued to dominate the game and only keeper McGann denied Ashley Stott from breaking the deadlock, and the visitors were made to rue that miss when Lincoln took the lead against the run of play just after the half hour.

Not for the first time this season, Otis Gorman was penalised for a clumsy foul in the area, this time on George Zuerner, and the referee pointed to the spot. James Coates’ first serious involvement in the game was to retrieve Scott Coupland’s penalty from the back of his net.

Things could have gone from bad to worse for New Mills two minutes later when, with time and space, striker Alex Troughton blazed his effort way over the crossbar.

However, there was still time before the break for McGann to deny Daniel Douglas-Pringle with an outstanding fingertip save, for the referee to turn down a decent shout for a penalty when Stott went down in the area, and Meakin to bullet a powerful header straight into the keeper’s grateful arms.

The Millers continued in a similar attacking vein in the early exchanges in the second half and eventually drew level 11 minutes after the break when Stott fell under a flurry of legs in the area and was adjudicated to have been fouled. Stott dusted himself down to send keeper McGann the wrong way from the resulting penalty to register his 11th goal of the campaign.

New Mills scored a fitting winner which their overall display deserved with just under 20 minutes remaining. The ball was played across the edge of the penalty area by various players into the path of Fitzpatrick who drove his shot hard and low past McGann and into the bottom corner.

Meakin had the ball in the net again shortly after but was penalised for a foul on McGann, and this let-off enabled Lincoln to attack for virtually the first time in the half and the Millers survived a late scramble in their penalty area.

It would have been an unjust equaliser for the home side though, who came into the game on an unbeaten run of six games, as New Mills deservedly secured the three points for only the second time in the last ten Evo-Stik games.

New Mills: Coates, Edridge, Fitzpatrick, Gorman, Bowler, Brown (Field), Meakin, Innes, Stott (Cox), Douglas-Pringle, Horrocks. Unused subs: Pickering, Gale, Jackson.