Makeshift defence are definitely at the races in Uttoxeter victory

Racing Club Warwick substitute Josh Blake is denied by a brave save from Uttoxeter's Alex Langridge. Picture: Morris Troughton
  • Midland League Division One
  • Racing Club Warwick 3 Uttoxeter Town 2

Racing Club Warwick defied a shortage of recognised defenders to claim three points in an entertaining clash at Townsend Meadow.

With Martin Hutchcox sidelined with cracked rib and John Blunsom having suffered an injury setback, Racers were further depleted by the suspension of ever-present right-back Jack Taylor.

“We played without a recognised centre-back in the starting line-up,” admitted manager Scott Easterlow. “Alex Price, Mike Ellis, Ryan Billington and Mark Passey made up the makeshift backline and their attitudes and application when we needed them the most was very pleasing.”

Racers keeper Tom Cross was called into action early on, pushing a Uttoxeter effort on to the bar with an outstanding save described by Easterlow as “one the best I seen for very long time”.

Warwick replied by hitting the post early on, Sean Kavanagh stretching at the far post to hook the ball back on to the upright, while Luke Church did superbly well to wriggle past the left-back before firing high with only the keeper to beat.

Uttoxeter were sitting deep and relying on breakaways and their tactics paid off in the 15th minute when Kyle Esplin beat Price and Passey before sliding the ball past Cross.

The hosts responded quickly with Church sliding the ball through for Billington to calmly slot home their equaliser.

The went ahead in the 48th minute when Martin Slevin fired home a spot-kick after Kavanagh had been pushed over by the Town keeper Alex Langridge while heading away from goal.

Just past the hour, a Slevin corner was cleverly flicked in by Church to give Warwick a two-goal cushion.

Easterlow introduced Oli Manoochehri and Josh Blake and the former Brake almost made a dream start to his return only to be denied by a brave save from Langridge.

Warwick gifted Uttoxeter a second in the 81st minute, Joel Dyche scoring to make the closing stages more anxious than they should have been.

Manoochehri then hit the bar after lobbing the keeper and shot wide after a fine crossfield pass from Blake but Racers had already done enough.

Racing Club entertain Clipstone FC on Saturday in the FA Vase and despite the win over Uttoxeter, Easterlow is hoping to have boosted his defensive ranks by then.

“I’m on the phone every day trying to source one other centre-back to come into group,” he said. “The problem is, good ones are very hard to find.”

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