Paget Rangers suffered their first league defeat on the road since the 8th of December, going down by two goals to nil at a high-flying Atherstone Town.
The match started evenly with both side trading chances, however the first glorious chance fell to Atherstone forward, Jake Woolley, who fired well over the bar when well-placed from a Ben Ashby cross. The next chance fell to Paget. A low cross from Fraser Doyle found Josh Hawker on the edge of the box, his side footed effort however was easily saved by Adders keeper Carl O’Neill. The course of the game changed on the half hour mark, Atherstone’s Nathan Haines and Paget’s Josh Hawker challenged for the ball in the centre circle, with the Atherstone player coming off the worst, and much to the shock of all from Paget, Hawker was shown a straight red card. It was now a case of holding on for the Bears and Paget managed to do so valiantly until the 43rd minute. First Conal Dowling produced a superb save from Ben Ashby, before Joshua Ruff shot wide. Then in the next attack, Jack Moss produced a great sliding tackle to prevent Adam Bilic an effort on goal, however the ball fell to an unmarked Joshua Ruff who fired beyond Dowling into the bottom corner.
The second half became a personal duel between the Atherstone attack and Conal Dowling in the Paget goal. Kyle Baxter’s effort was put behind for a corner before Darren Eggleton’s cross was cleared by Luke Hennessy, then the right back shot well wide. Next in the 58th minute Kieron Brehon played a superb low ball into the six yard box, Jake Woolley sliding in to stab the ball home to double the Adders lead. Still the hosts attacked, Jonathan Gould weaving around the Paget defence before seeing his effort well saved, then Jonathan Gould produced a cross from the left which found Woolley, the forward’s effort tamely reaching a thankful Dowling in the Paget goal. In the final 10 minutes Dowling was Paget’s saviour again, producing a superb double save to deny Joe Obi. Paget did have the final attack of the match however, Josh McPherson heading narrowly over the bar from a corner just before the referee blew for half-time. The Bears shouldn’t be too disheartened by this result however, playing for an hour with 10 men and with the Paget defence and in particular man of the match Paget keeper Conal Dowling producing a superb display against one of the division’s top sides.