Skegness Town returned to winning ways by easing their way into the last eight of the County Cup.
The Lilywhites booked their quarter-final place against Barnetby United from the Scunthorpe League with a comfortable victory over the Panthers from the East Lincs Combination.
Despite their excellent league form, Grimsby side Panthers lacked the teeth to threaten the seasiders and Gary Edgley’s men ran out comfortable winners.
After seeing his side earn their passage into Saturday’s quarter-final, Edgley said: “I thought the lads were very professional in their approach to the game and we were really pleased to not only win but to keep the clean sheet.
“Considering we had had a long break over Christmas, a few of the lads looked very sharp, but we still have plenty of work to do at training to get to where we need to be.”
The Skegness gaffer singled out man-of-the-match Macaulay Parker for special mention. “Starting only his third game for us, he was very impressive, defending well and being a constant threat going forward. He also took his goal very well.”
So did young substitute James Bland. “He is showing us he can cut it at Lincs League level and he’s pushing for a place in the starting line-up,” said Edgley.
Both sides began the game at a slow tempo. The visitors were content to pack the midfield, while Town tried to shake off the rustiness caused by their enforced month’s lay-off.
The seasiders managed to break the deadlock in the 13th minute after Ben Davison sprung the offside trap and was upended by visiting keeper Sean Swinscoe. The keeper escaped with a yellow card, but didn’t have a chance with Joby Gowshall’s spot kick.
Two minutes later Gowshall should have doubled the lead after Liam Parker weaved his way to the by-line and chipped to the far post, but his header was inches wide of the far post.
Town’s keeper Liam Gibson, in for the injured Craig Parry, was rarely troubled during the first half, but dealt comfortably with anything that came his way.
He was relieved to see a long range effort from Drew Rhodes sail over the bar, while Sam Smith dragged another shot wide of the goal when well placed.
The visitors were beginning to get a foothold in the game as the first half drew to a close, but Gibson saved their best effort of the half just moments before Parker’s individual goal doubled the seasiders’ lead.
So instead of turning round on level terms, the Lilywhites were two-goals to the good at the interval.
The Panthers knew that one goal would get them back in the game, but they found Gowshall and Jake Akers in defiant mood. Despite hogging the ball for long periods, they couldn’t find that pass to unlock the home defence.
Their best shout for a penalty, when the ball smacked against Andy Parish’s arm across his chest, was waved away by referee James Fairweather in the 75th minute and with that their hopes faded.
Danny Reid was clinically checked by Aaron Osbourne to earn the defender a yellow card as Reid looked likely to go on to extend Town’s lead.
But the third goal finally came in the second minute of stoppage time when Bland got in behind the defence, brought the ball down on a sixpence while holding off the full back, and slotting past Swinscoe.
Skegness Town: Liam Gibson, Macaulay Parker, Jake Akers, Andy Parish, Joby Gowshall, Liam Parker, Andy Reeson, John Courtney, Liam Papworth, Ben Davison, Aaron Liles, Michael Hardy, Danny Reid, James Bland.
On Saturday Skegness Town are at home in the next round of the same competition when Barnetby United are the visitors to Burgh Road for a 1.30pm kick-off.