Skegness Town 1
Lincoln United Reserves 3
SKEGNESS Town boss Barry Kilmore was left questioning the mental strength of his players after seeing them slump to their worst home defeat of the season against ten-man Lincoln United Reserves.
“I think they choked,” he said after United fought back to overturn a half time deficit.
Despite occupying second place in the table, the Lilywhites have produced some Jekyll and Hyde performances this season.
This was another poor show, but for a long time it looked as though they were going to escape with the spoils, but in the end they were undone by their poor passing and inability to clear their lines when under pressure.
Once again they relied on the agility of keeper Michael Emery to keep them in the game, but the Lilywhites’ problems began to mount when they lost the services of the influential Liam Papworth and Joby Gowshall through injury.
The seasiders took the lead when a Sam Sleight sidefoot was deflected past visiting keeper Phil McGann in the 10th minute.
Kilmore had to reshuffle his pack when Papworth limped out of the action with a shin injury midway through the first half.
Of even more concern to the Lilywhites gaffer was Lincoln’s lively strike pair of Jordan Hempenstall and Shaun Booth, who were proving to be a handful.
Four minutes before the break, Emery’s acrobatic fingertip save kept the lead intact, but it appeared to be only a matter of time before the scores would be level.
Gowshall was forced to leave the field when he was kicked on his calf, the same injury that had him sidelined for several weeks earlier in the season.
Skipper Damian Howland dropped back into defence to help stem the flow of United attacks and was immediately called into action with a goalmouth scramble to deal with.
That they were thwarted yet again seemed to frustrate the visitors and Booth was cautioned by referee Chris Reeson for a needless foul on Michael Howard.
On the hour, parity was restored when three attempts to clear the ball failed and Christopher Gray looped his shot over Emery and into the far corner.
The goal seemed to rouse the home side from its slumber and their chances were further enhanced when Booth was shown his second yellow card, presumably for something he uttered to a linesman.
But seven minutes from the end the ten-man visitors rocked the Burgh Road faithful when Hempenstall stole in behind a napping defence to lob the exposed Emery.
Town’s urgency levels were finally raised as they stared defeat full in the face, but they failed to stretch McGann in the Lincoln goal.
In fact it was he who set up the visitors’ third goal in the last minute.
With his opposite number daring to stray into his penalty box in search of an equaliser McGann collected a cross and sent substitute Jake Outram away, and with Emery stranded in the opposing half, Outram had the simplest of tap-ins to complete a miserable afternoon for the seasiders.
Skegness Town: Emery, Trestrail, Needham, S Sleight, Gowshall, Cartwright, J Sleight, Howland, Howard, Gardner, Papworth, Scutt, Lyon, Beresford.
Lincoln United Reserves: McGann, Green, Pickering, Murphy, J Foster, B Foster, Kingett, Gray, Hempenstall, Booth, McDaid, Hutchinson, Kelway, Stainton, Outram, Wyld.