A Christmas number one

Luke Rayner-Mistry.
Luke Rayner-Mistry.

Skegness Town will spend Christmas and New Year on top of the Lincolnshire League.

Having conceded double figures seven days earlier, the last place Sleaford Town’s second string would have wanted to be visiting was the Vertigo Stadium, home of the free-scoring Skegness Town.

To their credit they showed great determination to restrict the champions and with three quarters of the game completed they were trailing by just two goals, a Will Britton penalty and Alex Nichols’s 15th of the season.

But when Luke Rayner-Mistry pierced the visitors with the seasiders’ third goal of the afternoon the floodgates opened.

Britton went on to complete not just his hat-trick, but a five-goal salvo, and the Lilywhites opened the gap at the top of the league table to three points, while still enjoying two games in hand.

Skegness led 2-0 at the break with the visitors concentrating on damage limitation. They defended well and worked hard to stop the Skegness playmakers having time on the ball.

After Rayner-Mistry’s goal, Courtney Warren headed home a fourth, before Britton fired his second of the day past the plucky visiting keeper Alex Smith.

Two more Britton strikes in quick succession, followed by Daniel Reid’s tap-in made it 8-0, and just when it looked as though it couldn’t get any worse for the visitors Smith upended Reid.

Britton’s second penalty of the afternoon, the last kick of the afternoon, gave the keeper no chance.

As well as marking Reid’s return to the side, the match saw the introduction of 17-year-old Jordan Potts.

So the champions end 2016 three points clear at the top of the table with a goal difference of 63.

“We worked hard to break them down and played some great football at times,” said Lilywhites boss Nick Chapman after the game.

“Our biggest threat at the moment is complacency and I have stressed to the lads the importance of maintaining our high standards.

“We are in a strong league position but there is still a lot of football to be played.”

TOWN: Portas, Warren, Parish, Stevens, Chamberlain, Scutt, Rayner-Mistry, Hobbins, Britton, Nichols, Parker, Epton, Reid, Potts.