TOWN exited the FA Vase at the first hurdle against a good Winterton side and a 4-1 scoreline did not reflect that this was a real contest throughout.
Town will be disappointed to have conceded some soft goals and made life easier for Winterton than it should have been.
The visitors made the better start to the game and passed the ball confidently.
David Cooper had an early chance for Winterton but fired over.
Town’s first notable attack came on 13 minutes when James Sutcliffe’s far post cross was turned back by Danny Naidole but was well cleared by Graeme Severn.
Ryan Brooke had to be at his best to stop Danny Frost with a well timed tackle after excellent build-up from Winterton.
Frost was not to be denied moments later when he gave the visitors the lead with a neat finish on 21 minutes.
Danny Hull’s driving run drew a foul on the edge of the box but Scott Driscoll’s free kick was saved by Jack Ward.
Town managed to work themselves into the game and started to dominate.
Shane Hamilton’s cross found Chris Wdowczyk whose shot from 18 yards was saved.
Hamilton then had a 25-yard effort on goal himself into the midriff of Ward and Town were unlucky not to score on 38 minutes when Sutcliffe hit a screamer from 25 yards that hit the angle of post and crossbar and bounced away.
Winterton had been penned in their own half for a good 20-minute spell of Town pressure, but threatened twice within a couple of minutes just before the break.
First Frost had a clever chip saved by new Town keeper Ash Connor, then he pulled off an even better save when Wilkin’s run allowed him through on goal.
Town got the equaliser a minute before the break after a superbly delivered free kick from Driscoll was headed past Ward by Naidole.
Town made a disastrous start to the second half, conceding a poor goal within the first minute when they failed to deal with a long throw into the box and Wilkin pounced to score with a well taken hooked shot from close range.
Wayne Crossley spotted a good run into the box by Wdowczyk and matched it with an equally good pass but the midfielder could not take the pass in his stride.
Frost, who looked lively for Winterton, was denied a shot on goal by Josh Williams on 58 minutes. Naidole, who also looked impressive on his Town debut, crossed dangerously without finding a team mate and then held the ball up well before setting up Wdowczyk to shoot towards the bottom corner, but be was denied by a good save from Ward.
Town had plenty of the ball, but Winterton were creating chances. Brooke blocked well from Liam Slack, Connor saved from Wilkin and Williams blocked the follow-up.
The best chance fell to Cooper who volleyed over a cross from Severn. Town responded with a weaving run from Hamilton who linked with Naidole before his shot was blocked for a corner.
Frost then seemed to bounce through numerous challenges before finding himself facing Connor, who saved his point blank shot.
Winterton increased their lead when Wilkin converted a penalty on 74 minutes to leave Town with a mountain to climb.
Town replaced midfielder Wdowczyk with striker Andy Hawker to try salvage something, but Winterton looked very strong at the back with Sanderson again looking commanding at centre-back.
Town never threw in the towel, with Sutcliffe impressive down the right hand side and Hamilton showing his usual tremendous workrate.
Town will maybe be disappointed they did not get more of the ball to Naidole, who looked to have the beating of his markers.
Hamilton probably came nearest to pulling a goal back for Town when he showed great pace to get on the end of a Hull pass but poked the ball the wrong side of the post.
Wilkin completed his hat-trick deep into injury time with a simple finish after more good work from Frost as Town were caught on the break after throwing men forward in the final stages of the game.
There were plenty of positives to take out of this game despite the defeat as manager Paul Quinn continues to rebuild the side and get his ideas over to the players.