Skegness Town 0, Moulton Harrox 5
Ten man Skegness Town failed to make it an all-Lincolnshire League final of the County Cup when they were outmuscled by a strong Moulton Harrox outfit at Burgh Road.
For 45 minutes the Lilywhites matched their Peterborough League opponents. But disaster struck in first half injury time when home defender Joby Gowshall was shown a straight red card for denying Moulton striker Joe Townsend a goalscoring opportunity. The visitors took full advantage of the numerical advantage and romped to a 5-0 win in the second half.
Tom Gosling was the thorn in the seasiders’ side with a second half hat-trick.
Indeed the first 15 minutes of the second half produced four goals for the visitors as Town’s heads dropped.
Having lost the influential Gowshall, they needed to avoid conceding early in the second half, but within three minutes of the restart a cross into the Skegness penalty area was glanced home by Gosling from five yards out.
The visitors sensed that Town were on the ropes and a second for Gosling strengthened their stranglehold, before he completed his hat-trick in the 55th minute.
Substitute Ian Bradbury tapped home a fourth before the hour was up and Billy King wrapped things up after two minutes of second half stoppage time.
Town had given a good account of themselves and played some neat football during the first half.
Moulton, who like their opponents, were a little rusty after a long lay-off, realised they were in a game as the seasiders refused to be brushed aside. A referee’s yellow card for King, for kicking out, epitomised their frustration as Town cancelled them out in all departments.
But a minute into time added on Townsend pounced onto a clearance from his defence, which caught the Skegness rearguard on the wrong foot. Gowshall’s lunging tackle took his feet away and the referee ruled that he was the last man.
From the resultant free kick the Lilywhites conceded a corner and when that was whipped in from the right an acrobatic scissor kick from Townsend flew towards the top corner. John Courtney on the goalline headed the ball against the underside of the crossbar as Town hung on.
They needed to get to the interval to reorganise and they just managed to do that without conceding.
Michael Hardy replaced the out of sorts Aaron Liles at the break and slotted into the centre of defence.
But two minutes after the restart Gosling stole in behind the back line to head past Liam Gibson.
Moulton fans were still celebrating when Gosling doubled his tally and his ten-minute hat-trick was completed when he turned in a cross from the left at the near post.
Skegness never recovered, while the visitors looked dangerous every time they went forward.
The home defence was in disarray for the fourth goal, scored by Bradbury, but somehow managed to stem the tide.
They were playing for pride for the last half hour, but didn’t looked sharp enough to penetrate an organised and well drilled Moulton defence.
And to add insult to injury King stroked home the fifth goal in the dying seconds of the game.
Skegness Town: Liam Gibson, Jake Akers, MacCauley Parker, Andy Parish, Joby Gowshall, Liam Parker, Andy Reeson, John Courtney, Aaron Liles, Ben Davison, James Bland, Jason Callaby, Liam Papworth, Michael Hardy.
Moulton Harrox: Lee Kenealy, Phil Groves, Danny Cairns, Bobby Patterson, John Clay, Sean Gedney, Billy King, Tom Panton, Joe Townsend, Tom Gosling, Dan Woods, Andy Law, Ian Bradbury, Martin Gordon, Nigel Steadman, Lee Hudson.
On Saturday the Lilywhites will be looking to bounce back when they travel to Heckington United in the league (kick-off 2pm).