Lincolnshire Junior Cup, 8/01/11: THERE seemed relief from both camps that this fourth round tie could finally go ahead – on the day the fifth round should have been played.
That was the tone of a match which was originally arranged for the beginning of December.
It simply failed to spring to life throughout the 90 minutes, and always looked destined to be settled by a penalty shoot-out.
That was until home centre forward Lee Bognar slipped his marker with 10 minutes to go, and flashed the winner into the roof of the Skegness net.
It was a superb strike from an acute angle on the Ropery right, worthy of winning any match, let alone a dreary post-Christmas stroll.
Turkey and New Year celebrations, along with the coldest December since records began, had taken their toll, with both teams appearing rusty, rushing their passes and appearing nervous in possession.
That said, Town should have been discussing a healthy lead at the interval, but woeful finishing let the home side off the hook.
Town’s player of the tie was undoubtedly goalkeeper Michael Emery, who rescued his hesitant defenders throughout the afternoon, starting with a fingertip save to deny Bognar in the 11th minute.
Midway through the first half, the injured Arron Scutt was replaced by Michael Howard, who, five minutes after joining the action, wasted the visitors’ best chance of the half.
His shot may have only been inches wide, but it was an opportunity from which he should have tested the home keeper Arron Storr.
Ten minutes before the break, Sam Sleight fired another opportunity wide when well placed.
Ropery had their best spell at the start of the second half, and Emery was called upon to save from Bognar and Mark Larocca.
Ten minutes into the second half Bognar skipped clear of the visiting defence only to be denied again by Emery.
The Skegness keeper continued to frustrate the home side, and even when Joe Owen took the ball round him in a one-on-one, he still managed to claw it back with the goal gaping.
It was going to take something special to beat Emery in this sort of form and that’s exactly what came after 80 minutes.
There seemed little danger as Bognar was forced wide after getting in behind the defence, but his sweetly struck shot rifled into the top of the net, much to the delight of the home camp.
The seasiders pressed for an equaliser, and even Emery stepped forward to join his outfield players in a bid to force the game into penalties.
This simply served to produce another of the game’s few talking points, as the keeper was caught out just inside his own half when Steve Hutchinson’s shot cleared him and rolled towards the goal. Emery scampered back to his line and dived to flick it away to safety.
It was the last action of the afternoon and Skegness were out of the County Cup after failing to score for the third consecutive match.
Skegness Town: Emery, Howland, Beresford, S Sleight, Gowshall, Cartwright, Scutt, Lyon, Gardner, J Sleight, Papworth, Howard, Needham.
On Saturday, Skegness return to league action when they entertain CGB Humbertherm at Burgh Road, with a 2pm kick off.