Town continue title charge

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Sills and Betteridge

Lincolnshire League

Skegness Town 4

Sleaford Town Reserves 0

League leaders Skegness Town opened up a six-point gap at the top of the Sills and Betteridge Lincolnshire League when they completed a quickfire double over Sleaford Town’s second string.

Having beaten their opponents in the last game before the Christmas break, the seasiders repeated the three-point haul in a dress rehearsal for the clubs’ Supplementary Cup quarter-final clash at Burgh Road, writes Nigel West.

Skegness were without Michael Hardy, who went down with flu earlier in the week. Jamie Epton returned to the left back berth and Josh Bartlett was included in the squad.

It was both sides’ first game back after the festivities and both were a little ring rusty, but the champions had that bit of extra quality to see them home.

Sleaford could argue that the scoreline flattered the Lilywhites, but they rarely troubled them, even with the wind advantage in the second half.

Before the interval Skegness had the blustery conditions in their favour as they kicked towards the changing rooms.

They struggled to put them to good use, rarely threatening Garry Doran’s goal, but Keiron Elliott popped up with the perfect answer to their woes. He picked up a loose ball and from 25 yards out unleashed a wind-assisted drive into Doran’s top left hand corner.

The keeper was rooted to his spot as the ball flashed past him.

He did better four minutes later when Ben Davison tested him with a left foot shot that he made look easy, plucking it out of the air.

And in the last minute of the first half he was involved again when he pounced to deny Will Britton.

The striker required lengthy treatment after coming out worse from his 50-50 challenge with the portly custodian, but he was able to continue and double the seasiders’ lead.

Seconds after diverting a shot over the Sleaford bar during a goalmouth melee, Britton latched onto a long ball from Elliott that was headed into his path by Davison.

With Doran committed, Britton simply lifted the ball over his head to make it 2-0.

It was the last action of the half, and served to double the home side’s confidence looking to hold onto their lead against the elements.

But the expected onslaught from the visitors didn’t materialise. Indeed McCauley Parker went close to extending the home side’s lead when he bounced a free kick off the top of the Sleaford crossbar.

In the 65th minute the Lilywhites scored the goal that killed the game off. The visitors failed to clear a corner and Liam Parker swept the loose ball home from six yards.

Five minutes later Doran denied the seasiders with an excellent double save, first to push away McCauley Parker’s shot and then block the follow-up from substitute Josh Bartlett.

At the other end Andy Hewitt snuffed out any hopes the visitors had of hauling themselves back into contention when a strong right hand kept out player-manager Stephen Garfoot’s snapshot from the edge of the area.

Seven minutes from the end Doran was caught out of his goal during another Skegness raid and Ben Drysdale took advantage to set up McCauley Parker for a simple header from close range to complete the scoring.

Skegness Town - Andy Hewitt, Ashley Murrell, Jamie Epton, Keiron Elliott, Miles Chamberlain, Liam Parker, Liam Papworth, Ben Davison, Will Britton, Andy Parish, McCauley Parker, Daniel Reid, Ben Drysdale, Josh Bartlett.

On Saturday Skegness Town travel to Louth Town Reserves for a 2pm kick-off.