Lilywhites show some more steel

Richard Ford.
Richard Ford.

NCEL Division One

Skegness Town 3 AFC Emley 0

Back-to-back wins for the Lilywhites have seen them climb eight points clear of the relegation zone.

And for the second consecutive week they kept a clean sheet while earning their three points.

It was another hard-fought battle against the mid-table Yorkshiremen, but Town appear to be gaining the steel needed to mix it with the big boys in this league.

All too often this season the Vertigo Stadium crowd has seen them crumble under the pressure.

But they are now a group of players capable of winning their individual battles.

They began the game unchanged from the side that grabbed three points on their travels seven days earlier.

Dan Stevens led the line up front ahead of a five-man midfield that included Andy Parish for the first time at the Vertigo this season.

Parish added extra bite with partner Richard Ford as they protected the defensive quartet, breaking up the Emley raids at every opportunity.

But the whole team worked hard to put the visitors under pressure in front of another healthy crowd.

The work ethic was personified by the opening goal in the 39th minute. Emley defender Michael Starkey’s back pass lacked legs and Stevens closed keeper Adam Ledger’s down.

The keeper hit his clearance so hard that when it rebounded off the Skegness striker there was enough pace on it to roll into an empty net.

The visitors were still recovering from this misfortune when they found themselves two down.

Indeed only 17 seconds from the re-start James Wroot got in behind the Emley defence and confidently lobbed home his second of the season past a stranded Ledger.

After the break, as expected, the visitors piled on the pressure in a bid to reduce the deficit.

But the seasiders held firm and substitute Will Britton, who replaced Stevens at the interval, almost increased the lead in the 62nd minute when he crashed a superb left-foot shot against the crossbar.

He didn’t have long to wait for his next chance. In fact it was less than 60 seconds after he had rattled the woodwork that he stole in behind right back Dan Stocker and slotted the ball through Ledger’s legs.

There was no route back into the game for Emley, especially with Ford, Parish, Ben Sibbick, Callum Robinson and Co snapping at their heels at every turn.

Andrew Horbury was inches away from reducing arrears, but his right foot strike deflected off the top of James Lambley’s cross bar. Then Shane Hamilton dragged his shot across the face of the Skegness goal.

TOWN: J. Lambley, Sibbick, Morrall, Parish, L. Lambley, Forth, Smith, Ford, Stevens, Robinson, Wroot, Britton, Warren, Evison, H. Bunce.

On Saturday Skegness will be looking to make it three wins on the bounce when they entertain Rossington Main at the Vertigo Stadium (KO 3pm).