Shot-shy Lilywhites suffer first home defeat of the year

Courtney Warren
Courtney Warren

NCEL Division One

Skegness Town 1 Parkgate 2

Shot-shy Skegness Town suffered their first home defeat of the year when they gifted Parkgate three points at the Vertigo Stadium.

It was a game the Lilywhites shouldn’t have lost, but they conceded two sloppy goals on a Division One day dominated by away sides.

Having handed the visitors the initiative, they didn’t start threatening at the other end until it was too late.

New boy Jack Boswell came off the bench to reduce arrears with 10 minutes left, but, despite being cheered on by a healthy crowd of just under 100, they couldn’t find the all-important equaliser.

The defeat left the seasiders in 15th place.

Parkgate, like Town, had enjoyed a mixed season going into this fixture. Relegated from the Premier Division last term, they struggled to make any headway until a change in management saw an upturn in results.

But Town had not been beaten at the Vertigo since November and would have been confident of matching their Rotherham rivals.

It was by no means a classic match, played in blustery conditions. There was a lot of huffing and puffing, but neither side looked to be in any danger, until Town handed their opponents the initiative after half an hour.

Referee Thomas Cadman had resorted to using his yellow card to try to calm the players down after a series of feisty challenges. This resulted in a caution for Parkgate’s Lewis Whittaker, who was soon followed into the book by Town’s skipper Daniel Stevens.

Parkgate were keen to see George Hobbins receive similar treatment and when he thundered into the back of the visiting left winger as he drifted away from the Skegness goal he received his first warning.

The seasiders survived that cross into the danger area, but instead of shepherding the player with the ball away from goal, Hobbins inexplicably barged him over, right in front of the away dug-out.

Mr Cadman gave him the benefit of the doubt and issued a final warning.

The resultant free kick was mis-hit, which caught everyone out, including Hobbins. He appeared to lunge at the ball and Samuel Omproson fell clutching the back of his knee. Whether Hobbins caught the player was debatable, but Mr Cadman was convinced and flashed his yellow card again.

What proved more fatal for the seasiders was the execution of the free kick, 20 yards out in front of the Skegness goal.

Despite a large defensive wall of players, Simon Harrison stepped forward to beat keeper James Lambley.

The first half continued in a similar vein with very little goalmouth action.

New signing Tom Sawyer fired just over and Courtney Warren hit the frame of the goal as the home side went in search of an equaliser.

Midweek signing Boswell replaced Hobbins at the interval and only a minute into the second half the visitors doubled their lead.

Skegness failed to clear a cross from the right and when the ball fell to Brandon Bagley eight yards out he gleefully swept it home.

The Lilywhites, without the injured James Wroot, struggled to create clear cut chances and visiting keeper Chris Butt’s bravery denied them on a couple of occasions.

They were given hope 10 minutes from the end when Joshua Morrall got in behind the Parkgate defence down the left and crossed for Boswell to steer the ball home.

Skegness sensed that Parkgate were hanging on during the later stages, but their earlier slackness had left them with too much to do to rescue a point.

TOWN: J. Lambley, Warren, Morrall, Parish, Norburn, Stevens, L. Lambley, Sawyer, Britton, Smith, Hobbins, Evison, Sibbick, Boswell, Nichols, Ralph.