Sills and Betteridge Lincolnshire League: Stalemate helps seal second spot

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A goalless draw in their penultimate game of the season was enough to secure runners-up spot in the Sills and Betteridge Lincolnshire League for Skegness Town.

It had been an opportunity for the Lilywhites to avenge the Challenge Cup defeat they suffered at Rustons’ Lincoln-based ground last month, writes Nigel West.

But the seasiders failed to break down a stubborn Rustons defence and had to settle for a point.

In truth, the game didn’t really come to life until the last 10 minutes.

That was when, with legs tiring, the gaps started to appear and there was a host of opportunities to break the deadlock created at both ends.

Visiting centre forward Ian Ward had threatened to draw first blood after just nine minutes of the game, but he headed over from close range.

There were a number of tasty challenges during the early stages, one of which on Ben Davison earned Rustons’ Lee Pickering a yellow card from referee Alex Sawden.

But goalmouth incident was rare and the closest Town came to the first goal was a Davison free header that failed to threaten the visitors’ goal and a McCauley Parker snapshot that was just wide of the mark.

After 33 minutes Daniel Reid went close when he was first to react to a cross drilled in hard and low by Andy Parish. He appeared to have beaten the visiting keeper, Phil McGann, but the ball came back from the foot of an upright.

The second half was 11 minutes old before it’s first chance, when McGann dived at the feet to deny McCauley Parker.

A great run in the 63rd minute by Daniel Reid set up McCauley Parker, but he dragged his shot wide of the target.

Nine minutes later Reid and Will Britton combined well before Britton shot across the face of the Rustons goal.

With 12 minutes left Rustons’ Josh Barker put the ball in the net after it had been spilled by stand-in keeper Ben Etches, but the linesman spotted an offside.

This drama triggered 10 minutes of end-to-end play during which Reid got to the ball a split second ahead of McGann, only to see it roll wide of a post.

At the other end an 83rd minute Barker shot was cleared by the legs of Etches and a minute later McGann saved well to deny Reid, who had escaped the shackles of his marker.

The chances continued to present themselves and Barker fired over when well placed.

As the final whistle approached a long kick from McGann caused problems for the home defence.

Callum Dye blocked the clearance and ran on before firing goalwards, but Etches threw himself to his right to keep the ball out.

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