TWO GOALS from James Lemon inspired Droitwich Spa to a less than comfortable 2-0 victory at Barnt Green Spartak.
A goal in each half from the sharpshooter, who had gone six games without scoring in all competitions prior to today’s (Saturday) game, ensured the Saltmen picked up a vital three points to move them up to second in the Midland League Division Two table.
However, the Saltmen’s performance was far from perfect as Spartak, who play their home games at Highgate United’s Coppice Ground, had their fair share of opportunities to salvage a result but they failed to trouble Matthew Oliver in the Spa goal.
And the defeat means it was the first time GJ Singh’s men have lost at home in the league this season and more worryingly, the defeat means they have won just one of their last six outings in all competitions.
Spartak will feel aggrieved they did not get a result, though, as they started the first half at a blistering pace with James Ward looking to impose himself against his former club.
And the skillful number ten could have fired the hosts 1-0 up after five minutes when he carved his way through the Spa defence like the proverbial hot knife through butter.
However his effort from the edge of the area was easily saved after he slipped at the pivotal moment of making contact.
Despite his early save, Oliver almost had a horror moment two minutes later as he failed to collect a cross from the right but luckily for him, Benet Parchment could only blaze over from close range.
Time and time again Ward and left-back Sukhvir Singh were the main outlets for Spartak but they could not find the killer ball to break the visitors down.
Spa looked lax, much to the frustrations of joint-bosses Wayne Oliver and Mark Owen, as it took them 11 minutes to find their feet as Jack Brighton burst his way down the right before whipping in a delightful cross to Luke Molloy who could only glance his header wide of the mark.
It was then the turn of Parchment to head wide two minutes later after some neat work from Nathaniel Hare before Reece Mills saw a low piledriver well saved by Oliver from Marcus Malcolm’s free-kick from the left.
The inconsistency of Spa continued to show as they struggled to keep a hold of the ball but Molloy will be wondering how he did not nose the visitors ahead on the half-hour mark as the striker could only head over from six yards out with the goal at his mercy.
However, against the run of play Spa broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time as a wonderful counter-attack from a Spartak corner saw Aston Gunter feed Molloy whose beautifully weighted throughball allowed Lemon to race through on goal before rounding Raghban Ali and slotting home from a tight angle.
After the break, it was again Spartak who came out flying as Parchment and Hare had opportunities to draw the hosts level but both forwards could only fire over while Ward saw a glancing header in the 52nd minute saved by Oliver at his near post.
But five minutes later Spa doubled their lead after some wonderful free-flowing football.
Following some good defensive work by Brighton, he found Nick Seabourne on the right who whipped in a fantastic cross which was wonderfully chest-controlled by Lemon inside the penalty area.
The neat touch then allowed him to break free from his marker and coolly slot home beyond the advancing Ali.
Seabourne almost made it 3-0 on the hour mark but his header from Jamie Smith’s corner was straight at Ali before Parchment saw a shot from close range deflected agonisingly wide of the mark two minutes later.
That pretty much brought an end to the goalscoring opportunities as the game teetered out with Spa claiming an all-important three points with a display far from their best.