New Mills crash to heavy defeat on opening day
Monday 6th August 2018 @ 16:17 by Mark Phillip

North West Counties First Division South

New Mills 1-4 Vauxhall Motors

The Millers slipped to defeat on the opening day of the Hallmark Security League season, as an impressive Vauxhall Motors side took the points in a contest that was far more competitive than the score line suggests.
After several promising pre-season performances The Millers approached the game with confidence, buoyed by the return of club legends Carlos Meakin and Michael Bowler, as well as the signings of pacey attackers Ben Brooks and Aaron Dwyer. Karl Price, a pre-season signing was named in goal for his debut, behind a back four of Jake Bates, Bowler, Joe Armstrong and Jack McConnell. Arron Kirk, Meakin and Joe Rothwell made up the midfield three, with Brooks, Dwyer and Dennis Sherriff in attack.

The visitors were quick out of the blocks, wasting several early opportunities before the Millers settled. On 16 minutes Dwyer saw his effort tipped over by Matthew Lavelle, and then moments later his cross was volleyed just wide by Brooks. On the half hour mark Dwyer crossed from the right and the Church Lane faithful held their breath as it seemed ‘The King of Church Lane’ Carlos Meakin was set to net on his comeback, but his effort hit the side netting.

As the first half neared it’s close, the visitors took the lead, Ben Holmes slotting past Price from 18 yards out following a defensive mix up. The Millers responded with an opportunity of their own in stoppage time, Meakin blasting a free-kick well over the cross bar. Having weathered the early storm The Millers had taken control of the game, to fall behind prior to the interval left the home side with a mountain to climb in the second period.

Whatever instructions Gareth Cross, Nick Dowse and recent coaching addition Andrew Harris passed onto their players during the interval, they worked a treat as their side seized the initiative early in the second half and it came as no surprise when they levelled the scores. McConnell’s cross from the left was deflected invitingly into the path of Meakin six yards out and he made no mistake in firing past Lavelle.
On the hour mark Lavelle produced a wonderful save to deny Dwyer, tipping his wicked volley onto the crossbar as the Milers enjoyed their best spell of the game, and with George Blackwell brought on to replace Sherriff the home side looked dangerous in attack. The visitors though had no intention of laying down and in the final quarter of the game were to take the spoils.
On 72 minutes Price saved well from Brandon, but Daniel Cross was on hand to turn the ball home from close range, and then just moments later a cross from the right was headed in by Holmes for his second of the game. The Millers responded with chances of their own, Lavelle producing two fine saves to deny Armstrong and Kirk following set pieces, before with time running out Greg Drummond netted a fourth to secure the three points for Motors.

A disappointing result for the Millers, but with a local derby against Cheadle Town on Wednesday evening they have the perfect opportunity to bounce back quickly.

By Christopher Culkin