Paget Rangers struggled to come from behind to take advantage of a Lichfield City side that had a player sent off midway through the second half.
A late revival from the Bears wasn’t enough to reduce the deficit, despite playing against 10 and then nine men.
It was an action packed opening 10 minutes as both Lichfield and Paget had chances to open the scoring, there were even justified calls for handball as the hosts defended a Wee Gers corner.
Only a minute later Lichfield’s James Taylor was played through on goal, only to arrogantly try and chip Josh Benton in the Paget goal but his effort went too high and struck the crossbar.
Paget had their own great chance five minutes later following some great link-up play between David Yonwin and Ryan Walker, but the latter sent his effort wide.
Just after the 20 minute mark the hosts took the lead when Taylor found the bottom corner. It was very much one of those ‘first team to score’ games, and unfortunately for the Bears it was advantage Lichfield.
It was an almost immediate response from the Wee Gers when Luke Holmes rounded Steve Hayles on the byline despite being held back by the City left-back, frustratingly the linesman then ruled the ball had crossed the byline.
Both Nathan Corry and Curtis Shields had attempts on the Lichfield goal before the half hour mark, but neither could find the much needed equaliser.
An excellent pass from Holmes could have a set up a great chance for Ryan Walker, but the Lichfield captain Dan McLeod managed to intercept. It was a crucial interception as only a minute later the home side would be handed the perfect chance to double their lead.
A great block from Luke Hennessey was bizarrely judged to be a handball when the defender slid in to block the ball with his arms by his side. Drew Aiton stepped up and sent the ball into the top corner, Paget goalkeeper Josh Benton did well to get a hand to it but the shot was just out of reach.
David Yonwin and Walker both had great chances to pull one back before the break, but the score remained 2-0 to the home side.
After the break Paget were barely able to get up and running before Max Black scored Lichfield’s third of the game. 10 minutes later it went from bad to worse when Toumani Sidibe went down in the Paget box, the ref pointed to the spot and Sidibe stepped up to make it 4-0 to the hosts.
With around 30 minutes left and a four goal lead the hosts naturally relaxed allowing Paget to get back into the game, and in the 27th minute Walker pulled one back after heading in from a corner.
Less than a minute later and Walker was played through only to be taken down by Adam Robinson, free-kick given, red card shown, and the perfect chance for Paget to really shake things up. Tragically Dean Morris’ free-kick would hit the bar.
As time went on a heroic comeback looked less likely, but the drama didn’t stop. With just a few minutes left on the clock Lichfield substitute Alex Keating launched a two-footed tackle on Morris and was unsurprisingly shown a red..
Only a minute late Paget’s own substitute Paul Hughes headed in to make the score a more respectable 4-2.
Lichfield, sensing the danger that they could very much concede two goals in the remaining minutes, with only nine men left on the field, tightened up and successfully saw the game out.