Another late goal cost Deeping Rangers on Saturday who were beaten 3-2 away at Northampton Spencer in the UCL Premier Division.
Kevin Ansell scored a hat-trick for the Northampton side that saw Deeping leave Kingsthorpe Mill empty handed having given a patchy performance that fell short of their normal standard.
Early chances saw Ansell collect the ball 25-yards out and try his luck but on that occasion he shot straight at Deeping keeper Danny Bircham.
At the other end Rangers’ Ryan Semple got the better of Liam Tuck only to shoot wide of the post.
Then Deeping skipper David Burton-Jones won the ball well in midfield and his pass split the home defence to find Scott Mooney to advance to the edge of the box where a poor touch as the ball bobbled saw home keeper Aaron Lee collect.
The home side made the breakthrough on 14 minutes, a corner from the right saw a scramble in the Deeping area and having seen a couple of chances blocked Ansell was on hand to blast the ball through the throng into the net.
Rangers responded, Luke Avis fed Scott Coupland into the box only to see his shot well saved by Lee, then Henry Dunn’s shot on the turn was straight at the keeper.
The Millers increased their lead on 38 minutes, Jack Bartley twisted to shoot from range where the block fell into the path of Ansell who accepted the chance to slide past Bircham.
The second half started with a long stoppage delay but when the game got back underway Deeping started the better and pulled a goal back on 53 minutes, Dan Flack’s pass sent Ryan Semple free down the right to send in a low cross that saw Josh Melling’s clearance attempt fly past Lee into the net.
Before the home side could recover from this Rangers had levelled two minutes later, Tom Smith was played into space out wide where his cross was met by Scott Mooney whose touch steered it past Lee’s dive.
Deeping were having the better of things now, Dunn fed Coupland in behind the home defence but he could not shoot past home keeper Lee, and shortly after Rangers were appealing for a penalty when Semple’s shot hit the arm of the falling defender.
At the other end Bircham had to make a pair of saves.
Coupland saw a couple of chances for the visitors, his touch around the keeper was cleared from the line and then he got to a good pass from Burton-Jones to bring a fine save from Lee.
Spencer had a good opportunity when Dove charged down a Deeping clearance to release Ansell into the visitor’s box only to be thwarted by a last gasp tackle from Flack. Flack then turned provider when his cross was met by Mooney who saw his header tipped onto the crossbar by Lee and cleared by the defender.
With time almost up the home side applied some late pressure and another scramble in the Rangers area saw Matt Long flash a shot wide of the post.
Deeping did not learn the lesson and from a corner, despite several attempts to clear, the ball fell to Ansell on the six yard line and he made no mistake to claim his hat-trick and win the points for the Millers.
Next up for Deeping is a home tie against the division’s leaders Kempston Rovers on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Northampton Spencer: Aaron Lee, Jacob Gartland, Liam Tuck (Alex Lowery), Dan Stevenson, Josh Melling, Sean McBride, Ryan Dove, Luke Stone, Ryan Ansell, Jack Bartley (Ash Clamp), Matt Long (Mason Childs).
Deeping Rangers: Danny Bircham, Dan Flack, Tom Smith, David Burton-Jones, Spencer Tinkler, Luke Hunnings, Ryan Semple, Luke Avis (Jezz Goldson-Williams), Scott Mooney, Scott Coupland, Henry Dunn.