Heckington United 1 Skegness United 7
United were playing their first league match in four weeks due to the inclement weather and it was great to see the majority of the crowd on the touchline were there in support of the league leaders.
United started on the front foot and took the game to the home side and the first half chance came on four minutes when Ryan O’Loughlin was just wide of the post with a shot. However, it was Heckington who took the lead on 5 minutes when Josh Bartlett lost possession 30 yards from goal and Michael Musson tried his luck and his shot sailed over Martin into the net just under the bar.
This sparked United into life and within three minutes they were back on level terms when a long ball by Bartlett over the home defence was exquisitely brought down by Kurt Crossley and with his second touch, he lofted the ball over the home keeper as he came off his line. A top class finish from the United captain.
Skegness were in complete control of the game, often using the pace of Luke Rayner-Mistry on the left to open up the home defence. Half chances came on a regular basis to the visitors with O’Loughlin, Scutt, and Crossley all going close. Any chances which came the home sides way were of the visitors own making.
Skegness deservedly went ahead when after the ball had not been cleared by the home defence, Arron Scutt fired home from 15 yards via a slight deflection.
The nearest Heckington came to a goal since they opened the scoring came after 30 minutes when Ben Martin had to turn a shot away for a corner.
Back came Skegness to score number three when the ball was released to Ryan O’Loughlin in the area and cleverly made room for himself to shoot with his right foot giving the keeper no chance.
The visitors were still creating chances and Kyle McGuigan was just wide with a long range effort. The half ended with Skegness in control and their good passing play deserved more than their three goals.
Heckington started the second half the more lively of the two sides, however within five minutes, Skegness had their passing game back on track and pressed the home side all over the pitch.
The first real chance of the second half came on 55 minutes when interplay down the United right resulted in Scutt being inches wide of the far post with his shot. Then a free kick by Heckington was collected by Martin who quickly threw the ball out to Scutt, who in turn found Ryan O’Loughlin, he again showed great quality lofting the ball over Terry as he came off his line to make it 4-1.
On 65 minutes Skegness made a double substitution with Sam Sleight, and Jordan Smith replacing Scutt and Bartlett. Within a minute, the visitors had scored number five, when O’Loughlin picked up the ball in midfield and split the home defence for Kurt Crossley to run onto and again loft the ball over Terry as he came of his line to score his second of the game.
On 70 minutes, Skegness had six on the board when Rayner-Mistry played in Josh Clarke whose low shot from 20 yards beat Terry. Heckington were always looking to make inroads against the visitors defence, however were finding it hard work against Jordan Walden, and Man of the Match Jamie Skinner in the centre of defence.
Next Terry had to make two good saves to keep the score at six.
Number seven did eventually arrive on 80 minutes when Mark Hallam played in Crossley, who slipped the ball through to Ryan O’Loughlin who completed his hat-rick in style. Rayner-Mistry had a chance in the dying minutes but his shot was turned round the post for a corner and O’Loughlin then fired wide when well placed. The final whistle went with another three points secured and leaving United needing 14 points from the last 10 games to clinch the title.
Assistant Manager Jason Smith said: “We did a professional job in very difficult conditions today. We could and should have scored more goals but we are delighted with the result and some of our attacking play in the final third was outstanding.”
Team - Ben Martin, Josh Bartlett (Jordan Smith), Mark Hallam, Jordan Walden, Jamie Skinner, Kyle McGuigan, Arron Scutt (Sam Sleight), Josh Clarke, Luke Rayner-Mistry, Ryan O’Loughlin and Kurt Crossley.
Next Saturday, March 30, United are away to Louth Town Reserves for a 3pm kick-off and on Easter Monday, April 1, the return home fixture with Heckington kicks off at 3pm at Wainfleet road.