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Lichfield City FC left to rue missed first half chances as they lose to league leaders Heather St Johns

Lichfield City FC missed out on the chance to close the gap on league leaders Heather St Johns after going down 3-1 against the Midland Football League Division One frontrunners.

Jamie Hawkins’ men slipped to fourth in the table with defeat, ten points adrift of their visitors at the weekend.

But City will take heart from the fact they made the table-toppers work for the victory, particularly during an even first half.

Lichfield started the brighter of the two sides, as the Heather St Johns keeper was tested early on with a couple of strikes at goal.

Matthew Hardiman sent a shot over the top as the home side had the better of the opening exchanges, before Dan Sheppard thought he’d found the opener only to see his header strike the visitors’ bar.

The Heather St Johns goal was leading a charmed life, but the resistance wouldn’t last for much longer as debutant Tom Massey headed into an empty net after Luke Wright had climbed higher than the keeper to create the chance.

Jordan Evans tested the visiting keeper as Lichfield looked to cement their lead, but Heather St Johns began to grow into the game with Adam Jenkins having to be alert to keep his side’s advantage intact.

But City were dealt a sucker punch ten minutes before the break as Harry Austin levelled the scores after Jenkins had kept out an initial effort.

Both sides slugged it out in an even opening to the second period, but it was the league leaders who got the important breakthrough just after the hour as Chris Lloyd scored from close range.

Alex Keating had a chance to level the scores after being set free but his attempt to chip the keeper didn’t find away past the visiting stopper.

Heather St Johns continued to look a threat at the other end with Jenkins continuing to keep his side in it.

But any hopes of a comeback were finally extinguished when sub Simeon Cobourne wrapped up the points for the table-toppers four minutes from time.

Lichfield will need to pick themselves up to keep themselves in the mix at the top of the table when they face second placed Racing Club Warwick – who sit five points in front of City – on Saturday (9th March).

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