Cleethorpes Town Reserves 0, Skegness Town 2

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A patient and professional performance by the Lilywhites earned them three points and completed a league double over Cleethorpes Town Reserves.

They started the game brightly and early chances fell to Andy Parish and Mike Armstrong, but they failed to turn their superiority into goals and the home side frustrated them for the rest of the first half.

Skegness keeper Ricky Lovelace was a spectator for most of the half, but a battling Clee restricted them to a handful of opportunities.

At the other end James Osbourne caused anxiety in the Skegness ranks when he shimmied his way into the visitors’ penalty area and fired towards goal, but Liam Parker blocked the effort at the expense of a corner.

At times Skegness were too casual in their approach and Cleethorpes had time to get men behind the ball.

The second half followed a similar pattern, with the home side, marshalled by the influential Robert Greetham, repelling their raids without too much difficulty.

Home midfielder Michael Hornsby was yellow carded for dissent early in the second period as Skegness adjusted to playing up the slope and against the wind.

But, instead of the expected increase in pressure on Lovelace’s goal, Cleethorpes continued their waiting game, content to rely on hitting their opponents on the counter-attack.

Their plan was working well until the 68th minute when Greetham pushed Parish over 30 yards from goal.

Home keeper Grant Bailey set up a three-man wall, but that didn’t stop Michael Gardner’s free kick finding the bottom corner of his net.

This breakthrough forced the home side to change their strategy and opened up the game. The Lilywhites’ defence continued to deal with the increased threat and a long range effort from Osbourne was gathered by Lovelace.

The pace of Rocky Rawlings caused problems for a more exposed Clee defence and the visitors created a number of chances to put the game beyond their seaside rivals. Greetham was cautioned for his efforts to stop Rawlings getting away from him on the half way line, while Ben Davison and Liam Papworth both failed to convert opportunities from close range.

Deep into stoppage time the visitors scored their second when Arron Shelley skipped down the left and crossed for Papworth to tap home from close range.

Town boss Nick Chapman was happy to secure the three points as they prepare themselves for Saturday’s local derby at Skegness United.

“We knew we were going to have to be patient because of the way Cleethorpes set out their stall, but I thought we fully deserved the three points,” he said.

Skegness Town: Ricky Lovelace, Jack Cotton, Jamie Epton, Andy Parish, Jack Smith, Liam Parker, Liam Papworth, Ben Davison, Mike Armstrong, Michael Gardner, Rocky Rawlings.

On Saturday Town travel to neighbours United for a 3pm kick-off.