Lincolnshire LeagueWyberton 0 Skegness Town 0
Skegness Town picked up a hard-earned point at Wyberton in an action replay of last season’s County Cup Final at the Causeway.
The Lilywhites won that contest by a solitary goal, but on Saturday Wyberton, who played an hour of the game with only 10 men, made it clear they were in no mood to again finish second best to the champions.
From the first whistle they pressured in every part of the pitch and showed how difficult they are going to be to beat this season.
And, despite having to play the last 60 minutes with a man down, following the dismissal of new signing Reece Skinner, they dug deep.
And, aided by a lack of discipline shown by their opponents, they caused enough disruption to hold onto a point.
Town ere without the experienced Miles Chamberlain and Liam Parker, while Jake Gibson, McCauley Parker, Ben Drysdale, Arron Scutt and Sam Turner were also unavailable.
Jordan Turner slotted in at left back for Town and he was soon involved in the action as Wyberton went on the offensive.
Eight minutes in an overhead kick from Curtis Revell was confidently gathered by visiting keeper Travis Portas.
Some will feel that a poor challenge by Scott Dawson on Luke Rayner-Mistry merited punishment from the referee, especially when the resultant free kick from Jordan Smith failed to find the back of the net.
But that set the tone for the afternoon and boundaries were pushed to the limit by some feisty tackles.
After 15 minutes Town almost conceded when they allowed Revell too much room. He cut in from the left, but his shot flew a yard wide of the target.
Two minutes later Jamie Elston fired inches wide of Portas’s upright.
Revell was proving something of a handful for the seasiders and after nutmegging Turner he created another chance for the villagers, but it went begging.
Elston will be kicking himself for not making more of a chance after 30 minutes, when hesitancy in the Skegness rearguard invited him to fire goalwards from 10 yards. He scuffed his shot and Skegness scrambled the ball away.
Then came the incident that changed the dynamic of the game. Alex Nichols went to retrieve the ball after the visitors had been awarded a free kick. There followed a coming together with Skinner in front of the Wyberton dug out.
Referee Maynard consulted with both his assistants before brandishing a red card to Skinner and a yellow to Nichols.
Their best chance of the half came two minutes before the break when Smith burst into the penalty area, only to be dispossessed by Elston as he was about to pull the trigger.
Town began the second half on a positive note with Smith and Wade Hurst combining well to create an opening for Courtney Warren.
But as the half wore on they were drawn into a contest to see who could influence the officials more.
As the minutes ticked away there was some desperate defending by the home side, which resulted in a few chances from set pieces. Twice home keeper James Doughty pushed away fierce free kicks and the ball fell tantalisingly clear of the goal area.
At the other end Wyberton worked hard to snatch the points, but their best chances emerged from set plays. Portas denied them twice with smart saves when Revell threatened, and Corey Cunliffe produced a point-saving block late in the game.
Town will host Holton le Clay in the second round of the Lincolnshire FA Junior Cup on Saturday (KO 2.30pm).
TOWN: Portas, Warren, J. Turner, Stevens, Cunliffe, Potts, Rayner-Mistry, Hobbins, Nichols, Smith, Hurst, Hardy, Fulton.