Skegness Town 1, Heckington United 3

SKEGNESS Town threw away a half-time lead and gift wrapped three St Patrick’s Day points to mid-table rivals Heckington.

The game had been scheduled to take place at Heckington, but was switched late last week.

The visitors must have thought they had been blessed with the luck of the Irish as the seasiders rolled over and handed them the points during a lacklustre second half display.

It was the Lilywhites who rode their luck before the break after Michael Gardner’s fourth minute free kick was misjudged by visiting keeper Neil Terry to give the home side the lead.

Three times United broke through a fragile Skegness defence but failed to take their chances.

Town keeper Ashley Bentley denied Luke Hollingworth with a great save and there were further missed opportunities from Thomas Robinson and Andrew Collin.

At the other end Mark Lovelace hit the post after being set up by Gardner and Lewis Cartwright failed to convert Dan Tuplin’s inch-perfect free-kick with a free header from six yards.

The seasiders continued to huff and puff after the interval as they looked to make the points safe, but they were unconvincing.

Ironically they conceded the equaliser midway through the second half after referee Elinor Blanchard erroneously awarded them a corner kick.

Lovelace’s shot glanced off the back of teammate Pete Dickinson, but the decision went Town’s way. When the clearance fell to Collin, he wasted no time in releasing Richard Meldrum on the right and the Heckington midfielder advanced unhampered to slot the ball past Bentley.

Lovelace had a chance to restore the lead almost immediately, but he was denied by a last ditch tackle by Luke Llewellyn.

The big defender then made an impact at the other end, heading home Hollingworth’s inswinging corner from the right in the 73rd minute.

There was worse to come for the home side ten minutes later when Collin got in behind their defence and stretched to direct a harmless-looking cross into their box. Bentley went to gather the ball, but Cartwright poked out a leg and diverted it past him.

There was no need for goalline technology; the linesman was in the right place to indicate that Scott Trestrail’s desperate attempt to clear had been in vain.

Joint manager Nick Chapman said: “I was unhappy about the way we conceded our goals.

“They were all avoidable and we had our chances to be out of sight by half time. It was very disappointing.”

Town now have to pick themselves up for the visit of Swineshead on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Skegness Town Reserves, who were without a game on Saturday, travel to Wyberton in the Boston Premier League (kick-off 2.30pm).

Results – Tuesday, March 13 – Boston United Reserves 1 Horncastle Town 0; Saturday, March 17 – CGB Humbertherm 4 Ruston Sports 0; Horncastle Town 1 Lincoln Moorlands Railway Reserves 0; Louth Town Reserves 3 Lincoln United Reserves 1; Market Rasen Town 1 Boston United Reserves 1; Nettleham 0 Hykeham Town 1; Skegness Town 1 Heckington United 3; Skegness United 3 Swineshead Institute 1; Sleaford Town Reserves 0 Cleethorpes Town 5.

Fixtures – CGB Humbertherm v Nettleham; Horncastle Town v Cleethorpes Town; Hykeham Town v Market Rasen Town; Lincoln United Reserves v Louth Town Reserves; Skegness Town v Swineshead Institute; Skegness United v Grimsby Borough Reserves; Sleaford Town Reserves v Lincoln Moorlands Railway Reserves. Supplementary Cup - Boston United Reserves v Heckington United.