Norton United 5
St Helens Town 2
ST Helens Town sank to a heavy defeat on a boggy surface at Norton United but the scoreline did not reflect the visitors dominance of the opening half an hour of the contest and they were made to pay for poor quality in the final third of the pitch.
The early stages showed promising signs as the visitors got plenty of joy down the wings with raids from Lomax on the left and Phil Williams on the right resulting in disappointing crosses which were cut.
Sykes-Wright was next to try his luck firing over from 25 yards. Town then had a scare as Brown lofted an effort over the bar.
Normal service was then resumed as Williams released Lomax on the right and he tried to find Edwards but the home keeper held the centre.
Williams then drew a save from Brandon before the home stopper had to parry a powerful effort from Sykes-Wright.
Judge and Fitzjohn both fired inches wide of and over the target respectively before Norton took advantage of a rare error by Novak in the Town goal for Talbot to turn the loose ball home after his spill.
Norton made it a quick fire double salvo as Brown added a second less than a minute later and Fogg netted a contentious spot kick prior to the interval.
Town reduced their mountainous task soon after the restart as a good delivery from a Sykes-Wright corner saw Judge able to rise highest and head home to reduce the arrears ten minutes after the break.
The comeback appeared to be shortlived as Mawdsley was dismissed for a pull back and the resultant free kick from the edge of the area was curled home by Richard Smith.
Novak then proceeded to make amends for his earlier indiscretions as he pulled off some fine saves to keep the scoreline respectable as the hosts used their man advantage well.
It was however Town who were to score next as Norton found another corner difficult to defend and after Chris Williams had an effort blocked Lomax claimed the loose ball and turned it home from close range to reduce the arrears with just over a quarter of an hour to play.
The depleted Town ranks could not muster any further goals and Norton netted their fifth of the contest in added on time at the end of the half.
They worked a good position in the area only to see a ricochet break kindly for Talbot and his tame effort looked to be an easy claim for Novak but a wicked deflection took it away from his despairing dive into the far corner of the net to rub salt in the visitors wounds.
l Town host Glossop North End this Saturday (January 19) with a 3pm kick off before welcoming Bootle to Edge Green Street the following Tuesday (January 22) with a 7.45pm start.