Sending off mars Millers’ second successive league win

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Calum Sykes’ New Mills recorded their second successive Hallmark Security League victory with a hard-earned 3-1 victory over Eccleshall.

The win came at a cost, however, as central defender Darcy O’Connor picked up a red card.

Heavy overnight rain meant a slick playing surface, which suited the Millers’ passing game and they were quickly into their stride.

Debutant Arron Kirk seized control of the midfield, while George Blackwell and Ed Driver troubled the visitors’ defence with their willingness to run into the channels.

The Millers took the lead when Kirk clipped a clever ball into the area and Sam Scott, captain for the day, hammered in a volley from 12 yards.

The lead was almost doubled on the half-hour as Nathan Neequaye crossed for Adam Kay to firmly head against the upright.

The main talking point of the first half came on 40 minutes. Eccleshall forward Louis Downs’ heavy challenge on O’Connor provoked a reaction and in the ensuing melee Downs was booked and O’Connor shown the red card.

Moments later Sam Scott was booked for a flying challenge on Tom Wakefield as the game threatened to boil over.

The Millers regained their composure and, despite the numerical disadvantage, doubled their lead before the interval. Driver was hacked down inside the area and George Blackwell tucked away the resulting penalty.

Downs replied with a spot-kick, awarded for handling, in the second half, but any hopes of a fightback were ended when Neequaye dribbled into the area and Blackwell poked home.

Dean Williams made two fine late saves to secure the win.

New Mills: 1. Dean Williams, 2. Andy Mottershead, 3. Bobby Lofthouse, 4. Arron Kirk, 5. Joe Armstrong, 6. Darcy O’Connor, 7. Adam Kay, 8. Sam Scott (c) (Luke Pearson), 9. Nathan Neequaye, 10. Ed Driver, 11. George Blackwell

Unused subs: Jordan Pendlebury, Callum Scott, Dennis Sherriff, David Dun

Attendance: 92