Late Sleight strike earns United first win of 2015

Skegness United's Sam Sleight puts the ball in the Cleethorpes goal. EMN-150323-170552001
Skegness United's Sam Sleight puts the ball in the Cleethorpes goal. EMN-150323-170552001

Sills and Betteridge

Lincolnshire League

Skegness United 1 Cleethorpes AKP 0

United picked up their first points of the year in a narrow 1-0 win over Cleethorpes on Saturday.

Missing from the previous week’s line up were Michael Howard and John Courtney, however Alex Tittcomb returned after a one match suspension.

The game kicked off on a cold and windy afternoon which, along with a bumpy pitch would make a passing game of football difficult.

Cleethorpes started the more positive of the sides and had control in the early stages without causing any problems to Jason Smith in the home goal.

After around 10 minutes the game became more evenly balanced.

However, it was not until the 28th minute the game saw the first attempt on goal.

This came from the visitors with a shot from outside the area, but it was well wide of the mark.

Two minutes later United were unlucky not to take the lead when Rhys Mansell picked up a ball around 25 yards from goal and his fierce shot beat visiting keeper Jack Gibbons but hit the face of the crossbar and was cleared.

The only other attempt on goal in the half came just before half time when, following a Mark Hallam free kick, the ball was cleared to Mansell on the edge of the area - but his shot was inches wide of the post.

Both sides went in at half time level. However, in a game of few clear-cut chances United had been the more positive in efforts on target.

United started the second half on the front foot and took the game to the visitors and during the opening 15 minutes a couple of half chances came their way but did not trouble Gibbons in the visitors’ goal.

On 65 minutes Cleethorpes had their first clear chance of the match when following a corner they were wide of the target.

Then, 10 minutes later they had another chance when Ross Muirhead made his first mistake of the afternoon, losing possession of the ball on the edge of the area.

Smith had to come to his rescue with a save low down.

United were still looking the more likely of the sides to open the scoring with some darting runs down the right by Kurt Crossley.

With seven minutes of normal time left United took the lead, which on the balance of play they deserved.

A ball into the middle of the visitors’ defence by Charley McLening was knocked on by Kyle McGuigan to Mansell.

He turned his marker to lay the ball to Sam Sleight, who beat Gibbons from 10 yards with his shot.

Shortly afterwards United thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Crossley was brought down, but the referee had other ideas.

The game ended with United taking the three points in a hard-fought victory.

Team: Jason Smith, Charley McLening, Luke Durdey, Ross Muirhead, Kyle McGuigan, Alex Tittcomb, Sean Chamberlain, Sam Sleight, Rhys Mansell, Mark Hallam and Kurt Crossley.

Man of Match: Ross Muirhead.

Skegness United’s next match is not until Saturday, April 11, when they are away to Sleaford Town Reserves with a 3pm kick off.