STANWAY Rovers were beaten 3-2 by early leaders Kirkley and Pakefield as the visitors claimed all three points at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon, writes MARK TUXFORD.

The hosts scored twice in the second half through 16 year-old substitute Max Sherlock and a curling effort from Matt Wooldridge, but were unable to peg the away side back on level terms in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division contest.

The game also saw Stanway reduced to ten men after Tyler Kemp was red-carded for an off-the-ball clash midway through the second period.

Rovers captain and first-team coach Craig Hughes was left frustrated after his side failed to once again take their chances.

“Again, we didn’t take the opportunities and it’s been a bit of a figure of our season so far,” Hughes said.

“We can scrutinise and look into it as much as we want, but ultimately they were clinical and we weren’t.

“We have two draws and one loss and realistically on the balance of those games, we should be coming away with three wins with the confidence sky high.

“There’s frustration in the team at the moment, we had a long chat in the dressing room after the game about the tough lessons we have learned so far but now we have to keep fighting and show determination to get points on the board.”

Midfielder Tyler Kemp received his marching orders in the second half of Saturday’s game after what looked to be a hefty challenge on his opponent, but Hughes had some sympathy for the player.

“For me it wasn’t a red card,” Hughes said.

“It’s a bit of frustration from Tyler and some experience from their player to get him sent off.

"He’ll learn from that but he’s an important player for us and he’ll be back from suspension raring to go again.”

Stanway are up next on Tuesday against Hughes’ former club, Brantham Athletic, who went through to the next round of the FA Cup on Saturday, but the tough defender knows only too well what test they will bring to his young side.

“We have to react now,” he added. “The positives are that chances are being created.”

“I would be worried if we weren’t creating the chances because you ask yourself what the team is doing wrong and scratching your head as to where we can improve and make those happen.

“But at the minute it comes down to finishing and getting the rub of the green at times and those things will come as the team grows and our youngsters develop over the season.”