Hardy hits late winner as United claim scalp

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Skegness United 4

Grimsby Borough 3

SKEGNESS United welcomed Grimsby Borough from the Northern Counties East League to Alford Town’s ground.

With several key players missing, United had to shuffle their pack, and the management duo of Hallam and Callaby had to be named in the starting 11 with assistant manager Jason Smith making the decisions from the side.

A good crowd of United support didn’t have long to wait for a goal as after 15 minutes the ball fell to Harris on the edge of the Grimsby penalty area, and he powerfully struck the ball which deflected off the defenders’ outstretched leg and flew into the bottom corner

Five minutes later, United doubled their lead when Harris made a defence-splitting pass that John Courtney ran onto and finished with aplomb.

Grimsby managed to force themselves back into the game when mix-up in the United defence allowed Richard Creer to get between the two centre backs and lob the ball over the onrushing keeper.

After the interval, United again started brightly and a through ball from Chamberlain found Courtney who showed great composure in finishing clinically to make it 3-1.

United were in complete control, however, midway through the second half, their defence seemed to lose concentration as they conceded two goals in a crazy five minute spell, both scored by Creer.

The equalising goal seemed to spur the United team to life again, and on another attack Courtney was brought down in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot.

Courtney, on a hat trick, confidently strode up to take the spot kick but pulled it agonisingly wide of the keepers right hand post.

United were not to be denied, though, as with just a few minutes remaining, a great run from Crossley down the right finished with him pulling the ball back for substitute Mikey Hardy, who hit a powerful drive that flew past the keeper.

Not long after the restart, the referee blew the final whistle and United had claimed yet another scalp of a team which plays three leagues higher than them.

United will travel to Spilsby Town on Tuesday night for a 6.30pm kick off, before they welcome Ilkeston Town to Alford Town’s ground again on the following Tuesday night, due to ongoing pitch maintenance.

The game against Ilkeston will have a 6.45pm kick off, and should provide a further test for United’s players and management.

United’s fixture details for August are as follows: Saturday, Aug 20, Swineshead Institute, away, 3pm; Tuesday, Aug 23, Skegness Town, away, 6.30pm; Saturday, August 27, Heckington Utd, home, challenge cup first round, 3pm; Wednesday, August 31, Grimsby Borough Reserves, away, 6.30pm.

Boston Town 2

Skegness United 0

SKEGNESS United travelled to play Boston Town from the United Counties League in the toughest friendly of their pre-season schedule.

Town, who defeated their neighbours Boston United just over a week ago have put together a very strong team and boast arguably the UCL’s most potent strike force in Alex Beck, Gary Bull and Danny Matson.

United started the game giving far too much respect to the team that plays their football four leagues higher than them.

Having seemed to have weathered the early storm, United fell behind when a cross from the right was cleared by skipper Joby Gowshall, but unfortunately the ball fell at the feet of the prolific Bull, who finished clinically to open the scoring.

Five minutes later and Town had doubled their lead. A tame shot from 25 yards was only parried by Gibson in the United goal and Beck reacted first to steer the ball home.

Whatever was said at half time seemed to galvanise United, as they started with more energy and belief.

United arguably had the better of their high flying rivals. Kurt Crossley was the thorn in Boston’s side as time and again he danced past his marker, but either failed to deliver the final pass or did not have the support to really hurt Town.

In the last quarter, it was United who were doing the pressing and never let Town settle in possession, which was something the management team can draw great satisfaction from.