United struggle to get season started

United in action.
United in action.
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Skegness United 1 Gainsborough Town 3

Playing their first home game of the season United were looking to get back on the winning trail after two away defeats. However, they were up against last season’s runners up In Gainsborough Town who themselves have had an indifferent start to the season.

Kurt Crossley was completing the last game of his 4 match suspension, and Jordan Walden was back for his first start of the season. The visitors were missing Craig Lill and Leigh Hutchinson.

The first action came on three minutes when a through ball to Mark La Rocca who was well wide with his shot under the challenge of Jordan Walden. Two minutes later a free kick by Ryan O’Loughlin was easily gathered by visiting keeper Daniel Markham.

On seven minutes a snap shot by Josh Nichol was wide of the target for the visitors. In another Gainsborough raid Ben Smith in the United goal saved low down.

For the next ten minutes the game was played in midfield and United were finding it difficult to penetrate the visitors defence and Gainsborough were always looking for the ball to open up the home defence.

The next goalmouth action came on 22 minutes when a through ball to visitors forward was knocked wide when well placed. Then when O’Loughlin picked a ball in midfield his final shot was just wide of the post. On 33 minutes Gainsborough took the lead when a ball into the home box was picked up by Gino Robinson who slotted home from close range.

Two minutes later United could have been level when a free kick by O’Loughlin found Jamie Skinner coming in on the far post and he was just wide of the target with his shot.

United were now coming more into the match and from another O’Loughlin free kick Walden brought an excellent save out of Markham. From the resulting corner Skinner headed over the bar. Straight from the goal kick with half time approaching Town played a long ball down to Mark La Rocca who side stepped his defender and placed his shot under Smith.

Gainsborough had better of the first half, however United had come back in the latter part of the half.

United started the second half on a positive note by taking the game to the visitors. However, it was the visitors who came close to increasing their lead on 50 minutes when from a corner the ball was headed towards goal, and Smith had to claw out the effort from his goal line.

On 56 minutes United made their first change with Kyle McGuigan replacing Andy Reeson. Two minutes later Town thought they had increased their lead when a snap shot from outside the area was turned away by Smith and Robinson was on hand to tap home.

However, he had moved into an offside position and the goal was ruled out.

On 66 minutes a right wing raid by the visitors brought an excellent save from Smith for a corner. Shortly after the visitors scored their third goal when from a free kick outside the area Josh Nichol fired his shot into Ben Smith’s left hand side top corner giving him no chance.

Straight away Michael Howard replaced Adam Broom. Two minutes later United pulled a goal back when Markham made a mess of a clearance and presented the ball to Jamie Coulson who took his time and placed the ball past the keeper.

Following the goal United began to apply pressure to the Town defence with Howard causing them problems with his running. On 84 minutes from an O’Loughlin free kick Markham dropped the ball, however recovered before a United player could take advantage.

From another O’Loughlin free kick Ross Muirhead got his head to the ball at the far post which caused some panic in the visitors defence before being cleared for a corner. Although United was having the greater part of the attacking play at this stage they were finding it difficult to get a clean shot on target. The game ended with the three points heading back to Gainsborough.

Manager Mark Hallam said: “We simply have not performed today. That’s as strong a side as we put out all last season as Champions barring skipper Kurt Crossley so we should be getting something from the game. Our young squad is not used to losing so we need to pick ourselves up and come back fighting against Sleaford a week Wednesday.”

Team: Ben Smith, Adam Broom (Michael Howard), Andy Appleby, Jordan Walden, Ross Muirhead, Jamie Skinner, Arron Scutt, Jamie Coulson, Luke Rayner-Mistry (Corey Cunliffe), Ryan O’Loughlin and Andy Reeson (Kyle McGuigan) Unused Subs: Tom Pickett.

Man of the Match: Jordan Walden.

United’s next match is on Wednesday September 11 at Sleaford with a 7.45pm Kick Off.

There are no league matches next Saturday due to the Lincolnshire League playing the West Yorkshire League at Boston United in the FA Inter-League Cup. Kick Off 3pm.