Skegness Town keep heat on Lincs League title rivals

Skegness Town's man-of-the-match Ben Davison in possession against Sleaford Sports Amateurs EMN-161128-150414002

Skegness Town's man-of-the-match Ben Davison in possession against Sleaford Sports Amateurs EMN-161128-150414002

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Skegness Town fought back to complete a Lincolnshire League double over Sleaford Sports Amateurs at Eslaforde Park on Saturday.

The three points saw the Lilywhites keep pace with leaders Grimsby Borough Reserves.

Manager Nick Chapman had to make several changes to the side that enjoyed county cup success at Scunthorpe seven days earlier with Arron Scutt, Daniel Stevens, Josh Clarke and Will Britton unavailable, McCauley Parker injured and Kyle Howitt having left the club.

This triggered two signings just before kick-off: Morgan Coombes and Dominic Murray-Paris.

They were rocked in the 15th minute when Liam Tunstall grabbed his 20th goal of the season and were then thwarted by a resolute Sleaford defence and keeper Jonathan Hotson.

But they were eventually unlocked in the 37th minute when Alex Nichols struck with his 14th goal of the season.

Town continued to press and were rewarded two minutes before the break when Kieran Elliott stroked the ball home from 18 yards, meeting a cross from the right.

The seasiders had to battle hard to keep their noses in front as tasty challenges either side of half-time kept the officials on their toes as the game threatened to boil over.

Coombes replaced Luke Rayner-Mistry at the interval as the midfielder continued to be troubled by his hamstring injury.

The new signing was prominent in the Skegness attacks early in the second half, linking well with Elliott.

Elliott almost doubled his tally with a 30-yard strike midway through the half, but Hotson acrobatically tipped his shot over.

But skipper Ben Davison’s performance was key to Town’s success. Despite playing in attack, his role as a first line of defence was crucial to starving the home strikers of the ball.

At the other end Andy Parish and Miles Chamberlain were as solid as usual, winning most of the aerial challenges.

Five minutes from time Davison almost set up a third goal, robbing defender Harry Wright on the right before darting into the penalty area and finding Murray-Paris whose debut goal was denied by Hotson’s legs.

Tunstall was Sleaford’s main threat, but his injury time effort was gathered by keeper Travis Portas.

Town: Portas, Warren, Epton, Elliott, Chamberlain, Parish, Rayner-Mistry, Davison, Cunliffe, Nichols, Cunliffe, Murray-Paris, Coombes.

* On Saturday Skegness travel to Nettleham where a win will lift them back to the top of the league with leaders Grimsby Borough in cup action.