Draw puts ‘massive dent’ in United’s title hopes

Action from United's clash with Horncastle on Saturday.
Action from United's clash with Horncastle on Saturday.

Skegness United 1, Horncastle United 1.

United were playing their third home game on the trot, and were looking for their first win having drawn the previous two games against Boston United and Hykeham Town.

Once again changes were made with Michael Howard between the sticks in place of the unavailable Ben Smith, and Adam Broom coming into the back line in place of Andy Appleby.

Arron Scutt, and Paul Watts also returned to the starting line up.

The first half was a down beat affair and on balance of play Horncastle may feel that they should have gone in with a half time lead.

They carved out two good chances at the back post for Harness but he managed to screw them both wide of the target. United’s best chance of a lacklustre first half was when Jordan Smith cut inside onto his left foot and hit a stunning drive that crashed against the crossbar and was cleared to safety.

Just before half-time, Horncastle’s Steve Brown found himself unmarked 5 yards from goal but inexplicably headed over the bar.

The second half started with United looking to put more pressure on the visitors’ defence. On 55 minutes William Wood had to bring off a smart full length save to stop Scutt from opening the scoring for United, then shortly afterwards the same player was replaced by Kyle McGuigan.

On 70 minutes Horncastle had a good chance of opening the scoring when, from a free kick, Chris Johnson met the ball at the far post and sent his header across the six yard box without a forward being able to make contact.

At this point Andy Reeson replaced Jordan Smith in midfield for the home side.

Two minutes later United went into the lead when keeper Wood and Chris Johnson got in each other’s way which resulted in Kurt Crossley having a free run on goal to knock the ball home.

The next chance came on 76 minutes when the visitors cleared their lines, the ball fell to the impressive Sean Chamberlain around 25 yards out whose stinging shot brought a great save out of Wood.

After both Watts, and Crossley squandered great chances to increase the United lead, Horncastle broke down their right hand side, and when the cross came over Howard in catching the cross was adjudged to have brought down Tony Edwards, resulting in a controversial penalty which was hotly disputed by the United players.

From the resulting spot kick Carl Smith drew the visitors level.

The action had not finished there as Michael Howard was sent off for reacting to a lunge by Tony Edwards who was booked for his part in the altercation. Stevens took over between the posts.

Despite being down to 10 men, United came back looking for the winner and Chris Johnson was sent off for Horncastle when he brought down Crossley as he headed through on goal.

United continued to press forward for the winner, but this was ultimately in vain as a result of United’s finishing and good defending by the visitors, with Wood making a couple of good saves.

The match finished with both sides taking a point.

Manager Mark Hallam said: “We didn’t do enough to deserve the three points which is very disappointing.

“We had some great chances to win the game but so did Horncastle and our third draw in a row puts a massive dent in our hopes of retaining our title. However we will keep working hard to get back in the race.”

Team: Howard, Broom, Chamberlain, Stevens, Hyland, Skinner, Scutt (McGuigan), Watts, Rayner-Mistry, Smith (Reeson) and Crossley. Man of Match: Sean Chamberlain.

On Saturday, December 14 United are at home to Barnetby United from the Scunthorpe League in the fourth round of the Lincs Junior Cup. Kick off is at 1.30pm.