Manchester Central Reserves fell to a 4-2 defeat against Uppermill Reserves in the Open Trophy at the Manchester College on Saturday.
Central fought hard against higher division opposition and could quite easily have won the game themselves. However Uppermill proved too strong with striker Sam Barlow scoring a hat-trick to put them into the next round.
It was a second defeat in a row for Central who will look to turn their fortunes around when they return to league action next weekend.
Central began well with Samir Messelmi and Olly Wright both enjoying early chances but it would be Uppermill who would take the lead mid-way through the first half.
Sam Hatherill struck a sweetly timed half-volley into the bottom left hand corner of the goal after Central had initially cleared well from a corner.
However Bill Prendergast’s side would not be behind for long. Aftab Jan poking home after Uppermill keeper Lawrence Gibson had fumbled Bruno Severino’s initial shot.
Then a controversial moment as Central thought they had taken the lead. Wright’s corner found its way to Danyal Halpenny at the back post whose header appeared to go over the line.
However despite the appeals the referee adjudged it had not, a decision that Central could count themselves unlucky by.
Especially when five minutes before half-time the visitors re-took the lead. Barlow with his first goal of the match as he turned home a cross, with Central not helping themselves with some sloppy play at the back.
They might have extended their lead but Nathan Jones fired his shot over the bar just before half-time.
At 2-1 after 45 minutes the game was well in the balance with Central very much in the cup tie.
The second-half began at a frantic pace with both sides enjoying chances.
Central’s best falling to the excellent Severino who had a shot go just wide of the post. He then forced a save from Gibson from a similar position a couple of minutes later. On both occasions the winger unlucky not to score.
Though mid-way through the second-half Central would finally draw level at 2-2. Chieku Thiam’s excellent free-kick sliced into the back of his own net by Lee Rainford.
However Uppermill would respond immediately as Barlow scored his second of the afternoon, the striker the quickest to react inside the box as Central switched off after their initial equaliser.
The final quarter of the game was played at a relentless pace as Central searched for an all-important third goal.
Both Severino and Wright had chances but it would be Uppermill who had the last laugh in the 88th minute. Barlow completing his hat-trick by sliding the ball under on-rushing Central keeper Joel Fletcher to secure the win for his team.
A 4-2 defeat for Central but by no means disgraced.