The travelling Paget Rangers faithful were given an early Christmas present as the Bears ran out 3-1 winners away to Uttoxeter Town, on the Saturday before Christmas.
Early pressure, in the opening minutes, from Uttoxeter signalled a tough game for the visitors but it was Ross Dempster who looked like scoring first, however the Paget striker was disposed in the hosts’ area just in the nick of time. Minutes later Kory Burke made a good run into the box, but was also dealt with by the Uttoxeter defence.
Moments later Craig Swinfield tried to get an early lead with a wild effort on goal, and the ambitious effort signalled an end to the opening 10 minutes and the game began to settle down.
The next big chance, came for Paget, when Dempster struck from outside the box only to agonisingly send the ball just over the bar. A minute later and the Wee Gers were left frustrated again when the referee bizarrely pulled play back for a Paget free-kick denying an excellent chance to play advantage.
However, the Bears would get another great chance to take the lead just before half-time, and this time they would take it. Burke went on another surging run before sliding the ball into the path of Dempster who smashed the ball home to give the visitors the lead.
After the break the game became a box-to-box fixture again, in the 55th minute Jack Derbyshire was denied at the near post. And moments later Nathan McBean met Myles Brown’s cross from the left, but wasn’t able to steer it into the net.
As the game went on it looked like it could be quite close, however the Bears to doubled their lead when Burke headed in at the near post in the 68th minute. Moments later Paget made it three after McBean headed in a corner.
The visitors continued to put the pressure on, hoping to give their faithful followers another thing to cheer about. However, Uttoxeter had other plans as Jack Hassell netted with 10 minutes to go giving the home side what would ultimately be a consolation goal.
Eager to regain their three goal advantage and conscious of a significant of time added on due to an injury earlier in the game, the Bears continued to attack. In the 82nd minute Burke would have been through on goal, if it wasn’t for a desperate challenge from Tom Morgan – bizarrely the Town substitute was only shown a yellow.
Paget would have been left furious, if Uttoxeter had taken their chances a minute later – a great save from Conal Dowling prevented the hosts from getting a crucial second goal, and lady luck was clearly on the Bears’ side when Daniel Harper hit the post with the follow up.
Perhaps frustrated with the missed chance Jack Tolley maliciously brought down Burke in the middle of the park, he was deservedly sent off for what was disgusting and unnecessary challenge.
Uttoxeter continued to keep the pressure on, but were unable to find a second goal let alone an equaliser and the Bears took all three points back to Birmingham.