Lincoln United fell to their seventh defeat in eight games as Judd Ellis’ second half goal proved the difference for Market Drayton Town on a cold afternoon at Ashby Avenue.
The Whites had opportunities, but were guilty of wasting many golden chances to put the game to bed themselves.
And their poor finishing cost them as Ellis slotted home against the run of play with 15 minutes to go.
It was the visitors who started the game brightly, Ellis squandering a clear chance to open the scoring in the first 10 minutes. He raced through the Whites back four, and with just the keeper to beat, the midfielder fluffed his shot well wide.
In truth, the scoreline doesn’t reflect how open the contest was, as United looked to counter attack.
And as the half wore on, Lincoln grew more into the game. Andy Toyne’s goalbound header looked destined for the top corner, but Joe Haines blocked his effort on the line.
Matt Cotton came close just minutes later, dragging his shot wide of the post when he should have done better.
But when finding it hard to score, you must stay solid at the back and Lincoln almost gifted Market Drayton the lead after half an hour when some good work on the left by Sean Williams led to a great chance for the visitors. He fed George Bowerman who crossed for Ellis, who fired a shot just over the bar with Sam Vince stranded in goal.
The Whites came close towards the end of the first half, with Paul Grimes causing trouble for the visiting defence. He turned and drove a fierce shot straight at Haydn Whitcombe, and he nearly converted a free kick just a minute later but Whitcombe prevented his strike from sneaking in at the near post.
The second half was much more frustrating for Sam Wilkinson’s men. Cotton’s deflected cross nearly found its way into the bottom corner, but for Whitcombe who produced another brilliant save.
But it was Market Drayton who took their chance with 17 minutes to play. Williams struck a fierce shot onto the post from a tough angle, but the ball rebounded kindly at Ellis’ feet and he slotted home to give the away side the lead.
It could have been a different story when Grimes was bundled over in the penalty area minutes later, but referee Ian Jackson waved away the appeals from the Whites’ supporters.
And as Lincoln pushed for an equaliser, they were left bare at the back. Brad Maslen-Jones collected the ball outside his own box and pushed for a second Market Drayton goal. The defender tried a speculative lob from 40 yards, and Vince was relieved to see the ball edge wide.
A late flurry of half chances came and went for Lincoln before the final whistle, including Jack McGovern’s free kick which whistled past the post, but it wasn’t to be the Whites’ day and Carl Abbott’s visitors took all three points back to Shropshire.
Lincoln now haven’t won at Ashby Avenue since the back end of September against Kidsgrove Athletic, and now find themselves edging towards the relegation zone.
Only three points separate the Whites and 20th placed Sheffield FC, but Lincoln will be looking to climb the table next weekend when they travel to Bedworth United.Tweet