Skegness United 0 Skegness Town 1
After the debacle of the previous week, Town returned to winning ways, building their success on a solid defence.
United were able to welcome Kurt Crossley and Kyle McGuigan back to the starting line up. After work over the week on the United pitch it was in perfect condition for this eagerly awaited fixture between the two local sides.
The match kicked off on a perfect sunny afternoon for football with a crowd of around 200 to watch the encounter.
For Town, central defenders Liam Parker and Ben Davison were solid against bouyant neighbours United, no doubt giving Town’s management food for thought in the closing stages of the season.
And it was their rock solid performance at the back that edged this scrappy local derby to send the Lilywhites into the last four at Sleaford at the end of the month.
Ably supported by Jake Akers, Macauley Parker and Andy Parish, the Parker and Davison stifled the United Kurt Crossley and Ryan O’Loughlin goal machine and restricted the home side to long range efforts as United tried to find their front two in advanced areas but the Town defence restricted them to scraps.
Seventeen-year-old debutant Ryan Thompson in Town’s goal dealt confidently with anything that breached his defence, but holders United only really threatened with long wind-assisted clearances from defence and set pieces delivered with pace by the dangerous O’Loughlin.
At the other end former United player John Courtney produced Town’s biggest threat. He tormented Josh Bartlett with his quick feet and Jordan Walden was booked for using unlawful means to thwart him.
On 20 minutes there arrived a key moment in the game when United’s Kurt Crossley was fouled, when the referee blew his whistle many United supporters expected a penalty, however, he decided to give a free-kick just outside the box.
For Town, Akers later saw yellow for a poor challenge on O’Loughlin.
Referee Dean Myhill performed well under pressure, refusing to be influenced by noise from the players and reaction from the fair-sized crowd.
There was some niggle, but nothing serious enough to cause Mr Myhill and his assistants any problems in this derby encounter.
Courtney flashed a shot across the face of the home goal midway through the first half and United did find the back of the net after 28 minutes, but the ball had gone out before being crossed into the danger area.
After the interval it was a bigger test for the home side as Town started to get the upper hand in midfield.
The second half started physically again, and a yellow card was produced for Town’s Andy Parish for a lunging tackle on O’Loughlin. This rallied Skegness Town who tried to use Reid’s pace over the top to create an opening but the central pairing of Walden and Skinner dealt with all that came their way.
Home keeper Ben Martin pulled off a couple of fine saves to deny Michael Hardy and Courtney as the visitors turned the screw.
But he was found wanting on the hour when a corner from the right was whipped into the area by the left foot of former United player Macauley Parker to the back post which eluded everyone and flew straight into the far corner dropping over the keeper and, more importantly, over the line sending the Town support into a frenzy.
United were in trouble minutes later when Martin gifted substitute Aaron Liles with a chance after hesitating with a bobbling back pass. Liles rolled the ball into the path of Liam Papworth, but a last ditch tackle denied him the second goal.
As time went on, the game became a scrappy affair as nerves set in and passion ran high. Jordan Walden and Kurt Crossley tried to inspire the United team to step up a gear. The introduction of Howard (Smith), Twigg (Bartlett) and Winters (Sleight) gave United new impetus.
Their threat continued to come from setplays and Andy Parish was booked for a poor challenge 25 yards out as the home side searched for the breakthrough.
But the defensive duo of Parker and Davison remained cool under pressure,
That’s not to say that the dying minutes of the match didn’t produce some heart-stopping moments for the visitors and their supporters.
One such event came in the very last minute when Thompson dived to his right to parry a fierce drive. Howard was quickest to react, but from five yards out he shinned the rebound over the bar, his blushes spared by a linesman’s flag indicating that he was offside in any case.
In stoppage time a hopeful punt over the visiting defence dropped under Thompson’s bar, but he managed to hold on to see Town through.
At the final whistle, the United faithful looked dejected as Town moved into the semi-finals leaving United to focus on their league title charge.
After the match, United manager Mark Hallam said:
“There was nothing between the team’s today and both teams showed great determination not to give an inch. I’m disappointed we were not awarded a penalty in the first half but I take nothing away from the Town players who seemed to want it a little more than our boys on the day, possibly with it being their last chance of silverware this season. We wish them luck in the semi-final.”
Skegness Town will return to league action this weekend, bouyed by their success over neighbours Skegness United.
Joint manager Gary Edgley will prepare his squad for the difficult trip to second placed Cleethorpes Town Reserves in confident mood.
“I thought the lads were fantastic today,” he said, after their 1-0 Supplementary Cup quarter-final victory.
“They have come up against Skegness United at their strongest and won the game on merit. There was nothing lucky about this result; United pushed us their hardest, but were unable to break us down.
“We know we have a great squad of players here and today they showed a lot of people how good we are.”
He refused to single out any player for special praise.
“My man of the match was my squad of 14 players. They all played their part in this one.”
Town travel to Cleethorpes, having already beaten them at home early in the season.
Cleethorpes meanwhile were dumped out of the Supplementary Cup on Saturday by Hykeham Town.
Skegness Town Reserves travel to Division One high-flyers Coningsby in the Sharman Burgess Sports Cup (kick-off 2pm).
Match Sponsor - Bateman’s Brewery. Match Ball Sponsor - The Water Leisure Park
Skegness United team - Martin, Bartlett (Twigg), Walden, Skinner, McGuigan, Smith (Howard), Scutt, Rayner-Mistry, Sleight (Winters), O’Loughlin, Crossley.
Skegness United man of the match - Aaron Scutt.
Skegness Town - Thompson, M Parker, Akers, Parish, Davison, L Parker, Reeson, Courtney, Papworth, Hardy, Reid, Liles, Howland, Bland.