Lincolnshire FA Junior Cup - Round 3
Skegness Town 4 Wrangle United 3 (after extra time)
(score after 90 minutes 2-2)
IT was a game the seasiders were expected to win.
With that expectation comes pressure, which seemed to have eased when Town raced to a two-goal lead within 18 minutes of the first whistle.
But instead of going on to rack up a large score the Lilywhites toiled on a sticky surface.
Wrangle grew in confidence and took the game into extra time with two goals in the second-half.
Despite having a man sent off during the first half of extra time, the Boston League side responded immediately with a third goal.
But a dramatic last minute, in which Town scored twice, saw the home side through to the last 16 of the competition.
Skegness broke the deadlock on 11 minutes when a neat move down their right resulted in skipper Ben Davison crossing for Liam Papworth to stroke home from close range.
The visitors had the ball in the net after 16 minutes but referee Nick Sleaford ruled it out for handball.
A deliberate handball at the other end handed the initiative to the home side. Under pressure from Davison, Wrangle skipper Jack Hill stuck out a hand. Joby Gowshall duly converted from the spot to put Town in the driving seat.
The second goal triggered a change in tempo; United were happy to sit back and challenge the Lincs Leaguers to break them down. Sadly for the spectators, they chose not to take up the challenge.
Instead they were content to keep the ball without threatening their opponents’ goal.
The seasiders were rocked back on their heels when a free kick from Jon McLeod sailed into the net. Only he will know if the strike was intended, but the view from the pressbox was that it was a cross.
Wrangle were not interested in any post mortem. Bouyed by their bit of good fortune, they pressed for an equaliser.
No-one could argue that they deserved their leveller, scored by McLeod after he pounced on hesitancy from Chris Nicholls at the far post.
And so to extra time, where Wrangle made it clear in the early stages that they didn’t wish to hang on for the lottery of penalties.
They hit Skegness on the break on a number of occasions, but suffered a huge setback in the 101st minute when substitute Sam Duff was sent off for something he shouted at linesman Scott Daley within earshot of Mr Sleaford.
The drama continued with a yellow card for Michael Parnham, which was punished in spades when the resultant free kick looped up off the top of the defensive wall and dropped under the cross bar, for Scott Mackay to force over the line to put his side in front.
Gradually the seasiders started to make the extra man pay, but Wrangle battled bravely to stay in front, desperately defending a series of corners.
Skegness went close a couple of times, including when Davison glanced a header into the bottom corner - only for the referee to rule the ‘goal’ out.
Skegness continued to throw everything forward and Wrangle keeper Joe Greswell pulled off a tremendous save to deny Reid.
Just when you thought the visitors had done enough to earn a fourth round place Andy Reeson launched another free kick into United’s goal area and Davison got the all-important touch.
It looked as though Wrangle were going to have to rely on penalties, but no... a last minute cross from Davison was turned in at the near post by Reid to break Wrangle hearts.
Skegness Town: Solomon, Nicholls, Parnham, Foreman, Gowshall, Hardy, Reeson, Courtney, Papworth, Davison, Bland, Reid, Liles, Marinov.
Wrangle United: Greswell, Boyes, Fulcher, Anderson, Hill, McLeod, Martin, Pitcher, Pereira, Mackay, Smith, Andriulionis, Bevan.
On Saturday Town travel to Lincoln United Reserves for a 3pm kick-off.
Skegness Town Reserves, who were without a game last weekend, are at home to Swineshead Institute in the Boston League Premier Division (kick-off 2.30pm)