Sills and Betteridge Lincolnshire League
Skegness Town 2 Nettleham 0
Skegness Town climbed to second in the league table after beating a well-organised Nettleham outfit at Burgh Road.
A goal in each half was enough to secure the spoils and lift the Lilywhites onto the shoulder of leaders Boston United Reserves.
With only two of the top nine sides picking up wins it was a good day for the seasiders,
The Lilywhites opened the scoring after 18 minutes when Rocky Rawlings eased his way past two defenders before finding the bottom corner of the net with a crisp shot.
Seven minutes later the visitors had their best chance of the match when the ball ping-ponged around the Skegness area before coming back off the crossbar.
Paul Burgess fired the rebound goalwards, but it was blocked on the line amid unsuccessful penalty appeals.
At the other end McCauley Parker nipped in between defenders Matthew Malinkovic and Matthew Ward but, helped by keeper Richard Duffin, the Nettles smuggled the ball away.
Home skipper Ben Davison created some space for himself on the edge of the Nettleham area, but couldn’t keep his shot down.
Town continued to control proceedings, but they needed a second goal to kill off their opponents, who had shown they have the threat up front.
Liam Parker though, this time partnered by Michael Hardy in Jack Cotton’s absence, was as cool as ever at the back and opportunities were rare.
Michael Armstrong went close to extending the lead with a shot across the face of Nettleham’s goal and then McCauley Parker rattled an upright with a sweet left footed free kick from 25 yards.
New signing Chris Ella replaced Armstrong and went straight into the attack with Liam Papworth dropping into midfield.
Sixteen-year-old keeper Josh Smith, another new signing for Town, kept his team in front with a smart save from Jonathan Drabble down to his left.
And midway through the half Lilywhites skipper Ben Davison dragged a shot wide of the target when well placed.
Nettleham huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser, but the home players held firm, determined to avoid a repeat of the two points they dropped at Mulsanne Park in September.
Josh Bartlett, in his first game since his return to the Burgh Road fold, combined well down the right with Daniel Cobb, who always looked dangerous when he attacked Ryan Allen down the flank.
And it was Bartlett who made the points safe. Neil Stocks clattered into the back of Rawlings and, after referee Dan Robertson had issued the only yellow card of the game, Bartlett stepped forward to beat Duffin off the underside of the cross bar.
Town boss Nick Chapman was delighted with the three points. “We put in a very solid performance and played some great football at times,” he said.
He said he was pleased with the way his squad was taking shape. There were three new signings in the squad, but there was more to come.
“In addition John Courtney has returned to training and should be back in action next month,” said Chapman.
“It’s early days and things are very tight in the league this season, but we are pleased to be where we are at this point.”
Skegness Town: Josh Smith, Josh Bartlett, Jamie Epton, Michael Armstrong, Michael Hardy, Liam Parker, Daniel Cobb, Ben Davison, Liam Papworth, Rocky Rawlings, McCauley Parker, Chris Ella, Aaron Shelley, Josh Nwokobia.
Nettleham: Richard Duffin, Matthew Ward, Ryan Allen, James Green, Jordache Akpoveta, Lee Warman, Matthew Malinkovic, Neil Stocks, Jonathan Drabble, Paul Burgess, Jonjo McGovern, Ryan Jenkinson, Lawrence King.
On Saturday Skegness Town travel to Grimsby Borough Reserves for a 2pm kick-off.