ANY hopes Skegness Town had of a top three finish wilted in the Ashby Avenue sunshine, when a tired looking Lilywhites caved into Challenge Cup finalists Lincoln United Reserves.
The seasiders needed to win this final league game of their season to leapfrog their opponents into second place but, after a goal-less first half, they fell to three well-worked goals in the sizzling afternoon heat.
For Lincoln, the victory virtually guaranteed them runners-up spot. For Skegness, the defeat condemned them to a place with the also-rans in fourth, fifth or sixth.
Both teams huffed and puffed for the first 45 minutes without creating many chances. Town’s best opportunity fell to Adam Lyon, but he managed to lift his close range effort over the bar.
Lincoln took just four minutes of the second half to create their first real opening of the game, when centre-forward James Stokes headed past the despairing dive of Ashley Bentley in the Skegness goal.
Skegness mustered their collective energy to mount a response, but Liam Papworth was too often a lone figure in attack and the heat took its toll on a few of the youngsters in the side.
Lincoln doubled their lead in the 73rd minute when Billy Foster rose to head home a free kick, once again exposing the lack of height in the visiting defence.
Town’s Chris Neale was denied by the woodwork before United added their third late in the game. A long clearance released Ben Wyld in behind the Lilywhites’ defence and with Bentley well off his line he lobbed the ball home from 35 yards.
Bentley had to be sharp off his line to deny Shaun Booth a fourth goal and at the other end an unlucky Craig Booth saw his effort rebound from an upright.
Skegness Town: Bentley, Needham, Neale, S Sleight, Howland, Thorpe, Veall, Lyon, Papworth, Elliott, Mangnall, Beresford, Booth.
l Skegness Town beat Scamblesby 8-0 in the Cusworth Cup and now face Working Men’s Club in the next round. The tie will be played at Burgh Road on May 4, kicking off at 6.45pm.