Lincs League footballers out of FA Inter-League Cup

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Sills and Betteridge Lincolnshire League 0, Humber Premier League 2

The Lincolnshire League’s dream of representing their country, by winning the FA Inter-League Cup, ended at Lincoln United’s NTR Stadium when they went down 2-0 to their neighbours from the Humber Premier League.

The Lincolnshire lads had an early penalty saved and then conceded two second half goals to bow out at the quarter-final stage for the second consecutive time.

Conditions underfoot were tricky from the first whistle after a deluge that started just before kick-off.

Lincolnshire started brightly and with just two minutes on the clock they were awarded a penalty.

Skegness Town’s Jake Gibson released Skegness United’s Luke Raynor-Mistry, who was upended by a reckless sliding tackle from Asa Pardoe. Without hesitation, Nottingham referee Declan Bourne pointed to the spot.

Skegness United’s Ryan O’Loughlin stepped forward and sent the spot kick towards keeper Adam Nicholson’s right, but the keeper guessed correctly and pushed the ball away for a corner.

The missed opportunity seemed to unsettle the home side and Jack Binns should have put the Humbersiders in front, but he blasted Michael O’Connell’s searching cross over the bar from five yards.

The sky blues from the Humber Premier grew more confident as the half wore on and Skegness Town central defenders Liam Parker and Jack Cotton had to be on their toes to keep their opponents at bay.

At the other end Greg Andrews tested Nicholson with a dipping drive, which the keeper acrobatically tipped over.

The second half followed a similar pattern with the home side struggling to get a grip of the game.

The Humber Prem had most of the possession without turning it into goals, thanks largely to the efforts of Messrs Parker and Cotton.

That said, Humber skipper Tony Scruton connected with a near post corner only to be denied by a reflex save from Richard Lovelace (Skegness Town). Skegness United midfielder Arron Scutt tidied things up by clearing the loose ball off the line.

The Lincs League continued to huff and puff, but they never really came to terms with the elements and had to settle for a handful of half chances.

Then, with 17 minutes left, they conceded a goal out of nothing. A speculative 35-yard effort from the right boot of Josh Giles flew into Lovelace’s top corner.

Home players were stunned and they set about looking for an equaliser.

Meanwhile pacey substitute Danny Lilley caused more problems for a tiring home defence, but he missed two golden opportunities to increase the lead.

The closest the Lincs League came to an equaliser was in the 82nd minute when the ball ran though to substitute Liam Papworth, but Nicholson dived down to the foot of his right hand post to keep his shot out.

The yellow shirted Lincs League pressed to try and force extra time but in the 89th minute the visitors doubled their lead when substitute Danny Lilley danced clear of the Lincs defence and slotted home.

Only minutes earlier he had been cautioned by Mr Bourne for a high challenge on Lovelace.

So the Humber Premier League go into the semi-finals.

One league they won’t be meeting in the last four is Jersey, the holders of the trophy, who were knocked out by Dorset at Weymouth.

Lincs League: Richard Lovelace, Michael Harness, Craig Lill, Greg Andrews, Jack Cotton, Liam Parker, Ryan O’Loughlin, Ben Davison, Jake Gibson, Arron Scutt, Luke Raynor-Mistry.