Dubious decisions even out as spoils are shared

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Sills and Betteridge

Lincolnshire League

Hykeham Town 1

Skegness Town 1

WITH their injury woes mounting prior to kick-off, the Lilywhites would have settled for a point at high-riding Hykeham.

Top scorer Liam Papworth was the latest to cry off as the seasiders looked to put the defeat against Louth behind them, and only those with their glasses half full would have put money on a draw at the Memorial Hall playing fields.

But after leading for 50 minutes of this top of the table clash, the seasiders were disappointed to have dropped two points.

The game hinged on two big decisions by the officials.

There was more than a whiff of offside attached to Michael Howard’s 30th minute opener, while Skegness keeper Michael Emery was adamant that the ball had not crossed the line for Hykeham’s equaliser.

These things do tend to even themselves out over a season, and the fact that both sides enjoyed the benefit of the doubtful decisions meant that the result was perhaps a fair one.

Hykeham approached the game on the back of four straight league wins, in which they had not conceded a goal.

They put the seasiders under early pressure and a deflected 20th minute screamer from former Lilywhite Craig Leverett had Emery at full stretch.

Hykeham’s custodian James Cooper was also tested early on by a Jamie Sleight free kick, and when he was beaten in the 26th minute by a Scott Trestrail 20-yard volley, he was grateful to see the ball bounce back from the crossbar.

Four minutes later, he was left stranded when Howard got in behind the home defence and lobbed him. The ball hit the hard goalmouth and bounced just under the bar.

Howard was inches away from doubling the advantage in the 57th minute when Lewis Cartwright headed Chris Neale’s corner back across the Hykeham goalmouth. The striker swivelled five yards out, but his effort drifted wide.

At the other end, the dangerous Rob Newman fired just wide after turning Skegness skipper Damian Howland on the edge of his box.

The seasiders continued to show great spirit to frustrate the home side and it looked as though they were going to complete an unlikely league double when disaster struck.

A shot from Paul Fragle was spilled by Emery, who spun round to gather the ball at the second attempt, but unfortunately for him the assistant referee flagged to indicate that the ball had crossed the line and Emery was yellow carded for disputing the decision.

Hykeham looked the more likely to go on to seal the three points, although Howard missed a great opportunity in the third minute of injury time.

The point was not enough to stop Skegness sliding to fourth in the table, but manager Barry Kilmore was pleased with his side’s performance.

Skegness Town: Emery, Trestrail, Neale, S Sleight, Needham, Cartwright, Veall, Lyon, Howard, J Sleight, Howland, Beresford, Elliott.

l SKEGNESS Town will kick off their Sills and Betteridge Lincolnshire League game against Swineshead Institute at 1.30pm on Saturday.

Skegness will go into the game with a psychological advantage, having won the league fixture at The Causeway in October.

Lewis Cartwright was the goalscoring hero on that day, heading home a second half corner to take the three points back to Burgh Road.

Swineshead, who reached the Lincs junior cup semi-finals this year, currently lie in sixth place in their first Lincolnshire League season.

They trail the Lilywhites by four points and two places, but they have three games in hand.

Skegness Town Reserves will be making the reverse journey on Saturday when they take on Swineshead’s second string in the Boston premier division, with a 2.30pm kick-off.