Skegness United 3, Cleethorpes Town Res 1

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United went into the match looking for a quick fire double over last year’s champions following the win on their ground three weeks previous, and to move six points clear at the top of the table.

United still had a number of players missing from the line up including the influential pairing of Kurt Crossley and Kyle McGuigan.

A strong wind was blowing straight down the pitch and Cleethorpes had the advantage in the first half.

However it was United who took an early lead when a great ball from Jordan Smith split the visitors defence, and Arron Scutt ran onto the ball to place his shot calmly past visiting keeper Beattie as he advanced from his goal.

Shortly after United had another chance when Smith broke free on the right, but his shot was wide of the target.

The game developed into a midfield battle, with Cleethorpes at this stage having a larger possession of the ball with the wind advantage, but were finding it difficult to penetrate the United back line, and a number of their passes were too long.

United were trying to play the ball on the ground against the wind, however it was difficult on an uneven surface.

The next action did not come until 32 minutes when Cleethorpes broke down the right, however the shot was saved low down by Ben Martin.

It was United who came close to increasing their lead when Luke Rayner-Mistry played a ball into Sean Chamberlain who’s shot hit the junction of the crossbar/post and bounced to safety.

A key moment in the game arrived on 35 minutes when after being caught a little late by Sam Sleight, Cleethorpes’ Micky Storr retaliated and made contact with the United number six, which resulted in the linesmen frantically waving his flag.

After consulting his linesman the referee decided only a yellow card was the appropriate punishment for what some witnesses thought had been a head-butt, to the astonishment of everybody at the game, even the away team’s bench.

Instead of getting fired up by the referee’s decision United let Cleethorpes back into the game and they drew level when in another right wing raid Lee McFarland chipped his shot over Martin as he came off his line to send both sides in level at half time.

With United having the advantage of the wind in the second half they were having more of the play, and were looking more dangerous.

United deservedly regained the lead on 60 minutes when Ryan O’Loughlin pounced on a poor kick by goalkeeper Beattie and from around 35 yards he expertly lofted the ball over the stranded Cleethorpes keeper to send the crowd into raptures.

On 75 minutes Cleethorpes had their best chance of the half, when a through ball split the United defence and from the resulting shot Martin went down well to palm the ball away.

With only minutes remaining Matthew Coleman was harshly sent off for Cleethorpes after pushing Michael Howard to the ground after a late challenge.

Within a minute United had number three on the board when Beattie palmed away a shot from Jordan Smith, and Arron Scutt was on hand to knock home the rebound for his second of the game to cap a marvellous victory.

Manager Mark Hallam said: “That’s the third game in a row this group of players has put in a fabulous team performance.

“They are making mine and Jason’s jobs easy at the moment by showing a real desire to play for their shirt and I’m sure another large crowd will have enjoyed what they saw today. We are absolutely thrilled with the result.”

Team: Ben Martin, Josh Bartlett, Sean Chamberlain, Jordan Walden, Jamie Skinner, Sam Sleight, Phil Winter, Jordan Smith, Arron Scutt, Ryan O’Loughlin and Luke Rayner-Mistry (Michael Howard on 78 minutes).

Man of the Match: Jamie Skinner.

Next Saturday (February 9) United are at home again this time to Horncastle Town with a 2pm kick-off.