KIRKBYMOORSIDE suffered a disappointing and frustrating few days with two 2-0 away losses against teams in the lower reaches of the Wearside League, which were expected to bring a few points to assist in a move away from the basement area.
Instead they suffered a brace of defeats although in both matches there was evidence of a promising future as young sides were fielded.
The youngsters forced into action were full of effort and enthusiasm but in both games a lack of experience, guile and physical strength in midfield proved to be the undoing.
It is to be hoped that the experience being gained by the youngsters can be bolstered by a couple of signings in the summer to allow a decent campaign next time around and a return to the top half of the table.
Ashbrooke Belford House 2 Kirkbymoorside 0
In Wednesday’s game, the oldest Kirkby player on the field was 24 years of age and in a dour battle it took the home side over an hour before they edged in front.
The opening 20 minutes saw few chances but then Henry Kwami picked out Ryan Rivis on the edge of the penalty area and his shot brought a finger tip save from keeper Brett Wilson.
On 30 minutes Rivis fired wide when under pressure from a defender and five minutes later Tim Hodgson had to make a good save to keep out a shot from Michael Charlton as it remained 0-0 up to the interval.
The deadlock was finally broken after 66 minutes when a cross from Charlton was volleyed home by Jake Moan to give the home side the lead.
Only three minutes later Wilson produced a good save to prevent Ryan Rivis from bringing the Moorsiders level and then Martin Deacon wasted a good chance to increase the lead for Belford House by firing wide when well placed.
The home side wrapped up the points after 83 minutes when a quick throw on the halfway line allowed Charlton to burst through the defence and slot home to double the lead.
Kirkby almost grabbed a consolation in the closing minutes but a Jack Chadwick header from a Jordan Rivis cross was just too high.
KIRKBY team: Hodgson; Bradbury, Richardson, Swallwell, Sharples; Leach, Ellis, J Rivis, Ledden (Chadwick 60); Kwami, R Rivis.
Yellow Cards: Ellis, Kwami
Man of the match: Tom Ellis
Coxhoe Athletic 2 Kirkbymoorside 0
On Saturday a change of formation for this game with manager Alex Strickland opting to use a 3-5-2 line up and a slight surprise in that Rob McDermid, normally a striker, filled one of the spots in the defensive line.
The system worked quite well for major parts of the game but the fact that Coxhoe were stronger in midfield meant that they were put under a lot of pressure at times.
After a quiet start the game burst into life in the 10th minute when a ball from Jordan Rivis picked out Kwami and he beat his marker and unleashed a shot which took a deflection to fly over the bar for a corner.
From the corner the ball was cleared out to Tom Ellis who hit a powerful 20-yard shot but it was straight at keeper Tony Lowerson.
Coxhoe hit back and shots from Billy Snaith and Abdoule Tunkara were wide of the target.
It was the home side who took the lead after 18 minutes and it was a good goal as a cross was only partially cleared to Shane Todd, who picked it up just outside the penalty area on the left and curled an accurate shot in off the far post.
Kirkby had a chance to level things up five minutes later as Ellis put Henry away on the right and the striker cut in to shoot with his left-foot but dragged it wide of the near post.
There were few clear chances as the half continued in a heavy rain shower but Tim Hodgson was forced into making a save from a low 20 yard effort from Tunkara.
Coxhoe started the second half strongly and Hodgson made a routine save from a Snaith header before Andrew Blackburn shaved the outside of a post with a 20-yarder.
Blackburn did better after 52 minutes when he used his pace to outstrip the back line and gather a through ball to tuck it beyond Hodgson, into the bottom corner and double the lead for Coxhoe.
Kirkby pushed forward after this setback and a couple of crosses from Ellis caused problems for the home defence and then Chadwick fired over the bar from 18 yards.
Just after the hour Chadwick won the race for a bouncing ball and lobbed it over the advancing home keeper only for the ball to drop the wrong side of the posts.
Jordan Rivis then had a 30-yard free-kick which was too high and a good cross from Ellis was clawed to safety by Lowerson.
The Moorsiders battled on well to the end but never really created any clear chances as they struggled to get close and in desperation were forced to shoot from distance.
Jordan Rivis went the closest with a 20-yard shot which flew over the bar.
KIRKBY team: Hodgson; Richardson, McDermid, Swallwell (Cham 56); Bradbury, Chadwick, Ellis, J Rivis, Sharples; Kwami, R Rivis.
Subs not used: Ledden, Trousdale
Yellow Cards: R Rivis, Sharples
Man of the match: Jordan Rivis