New Mills kick league season off with a win


New Mills opened their 2017/18 Hallmark Security League campaign with a convincing 2-0 victory over St Helens Town.

It was a graet response to last weekend’s disappointing FA Cup exit at the earliest possible opportunity.

Millers Boss Calum Sykes responded to the cup loss at Congleton by tinkering with his system slightly, bringing in Joe Armstrong for his first appearance of they season, to form a solid defensive line alongside Skippper Warren Gaskin and Darcy O’Connor.

Nathan Neequaye also returned to the starting line up after a short injury lay off, partnering Ed Driver in attack.

The Millers raced out of the blocks quickly, creating a number of chances in the opening stages.

On nine minutes Bobby Lofthouse saw his shot deflected into the path of Driver, but the youngster blazed his effort high and wide.

The impressive George Blackwell was the next to go close for the home side, twisting and turning in a crowded area to create space for himself before firing a thunderous shot against the underside of the bar.

Blackwell has made an impressive start to his Church Lane careeer and has already become a favourite among the Millers support.

On 16 minutes Driver had another opportunity to give the Millers the lead, cleverly played in by Neequaye he raced clear on goal, only to see his effort parried away by keeper Tom Bradley.

On 25 minutes the home side finally got the goal their play deserved, the ball breaking for Driver in the area who produced a stunning finish to fire across Bradley and into the far corner of the net for his first goal for the club.

If the youngster is able to produce similar performances, then it will be the first of many.

The Millers doubled their lead just before half-time, popular midfielder Bobby Lofthouse firing in from distance. There was still time for St Helens to launch an attack before the whistle, winning a free-kick 25 yards out, Danny Forrester sent in a swerving effort that crashed against the bar with Millers keeper Dean Williams helpless.

The Millers continued to press throughout the second period but were unable to add to their tally, on 47 minutes Armstrong saw Bradley block his close range header, and then on 50 minutes Jack Beswick curled in a wicked cross that was bundled behind before Neequaye could add the finishing touches to a fine team move.

Both sides tired as the game reached its conclusion, the lush pitch and the glorious sunshine sapping the players energy, and although the Millers continued to look dangerous from set-pieces they were unable to carve out any clear cut opportunities.

NEW MILLS: 1. Dean Williams, 2. Jack Beswick (Andy Mottershead), 3. Darcy O’Connor, 4. Bobby Lofthouse, 5. Joe Armstrong, 6. Warren Gaskin (c), 7. Adam Kay (Jordan Pendlebury), 8. Sam Scott, 9. Nathan Neequaye, 10. Ed Driver, 11. George Blackwell (Liam Pearson)

UNUSED SUBS: Dennis Sherriff, James Downhill (GK)