Sills and Betteridge, Lincolnshire League, Challenge Cup: Ruston Sports 4 Skegness Town 0
Skegness Town slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season to exit the Challenge Cup.
And for the first time this term the seasiders failed to score on what was a bad day at the office, writes Nigel West.
In truth, this was a result waiting to happen as Town have struggled to find their form of late, results belying the poor performances.
In goal for the Lilywhites was new signing Harry Ashton, whose debut got off to a poor start when Rustons centre forward Gavin Mackie volleyed home the opening goal in the ninth minute.
Midway through the half Mackie doubled the home side’s lead with his second of the game and Town were well and truly on the rack.
They breathed a sigh of relief when Craig Tomlinson’s wind-assisted header bounced off the top of the cross bar.
With a stiff breeze in their faces they rarely troubled Carl Stubbs in the Rustons goal, although Jamie Epton threatened to reduce arrears when he stole in behind the home defence late in the half, only to see his effort roll wide of the target.
Another chance fell to Will Britton, but he snatched at the opportunity when he had more time than he realised to test Stubbs.
If either of those opportunities had been taken it would have been a different second half, but rather than pressurising the home defence, Skegness fell further behind on the hour when Mackie completed his hat-trick with a simple near-post header following a corner from the right.
The seasiders continued to huff and puff but they appeared to lack any belief that they could break down the Sports defence, marshalled well by skipper Craig Tomlinson, back from his four-match suspension.
Left back Lee Pickering denied Britton with a goalline block and a last-ditch tackle from the same player robbed Skegness skipper Ben Davison as he was about to pull the trigger.
Dan Reid added some urgency to the frontline when he replaced Britton, but he was yellow carded for his first tackle within seconds of joining the action.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the visitors, centre back Steven John took full advantage of a goalkeeping error to head Chris Nuttall’s inswinging corner into the roof of an empty net in the last minute of the game.
Rustons now travel to Sleaford Town Reserves in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup competition.
Ruston Sports: Carl Stubbs, Dave Coyde, Lee Pickering, Ben Clucas, Steven John, Craig Tomlinson, Scott Nicholson, Joe Smith, Gavin Mackie, Shaun Booth, Chris Nuttall, Callum Dye, Joe Butler, Ryan Attwell, Kevin Wright.
Skegness Town: Harry Ashton, Ashley Murrell, Jamie Epton, Michael Hardy, Andy Parish, Keiron Elliott, Liam Papworth, Ben Davison, Will Britton, Matt Veall, McCauley Parker, Daniel Reid, Ben Drysdale.