Skegness Town 4
Ruston Sports 0
A Jordan Smith brace helped third-placed Skegness Town close the gap at the top of the Balcan Lighting Supplies Lincolnshire League table.
In fact, Smith came within a whisker of a second half hat-trick with his late flourish.
Gutsy Rustons had thwarted the seasiders for nearly half an hour, belying their position at the foot of the table, but two goals before the interval turned the game in Town’s favour.
Smith then turned the screw, taking advantage of some tired legs late in the game.
The Lilywhites started without the unavailable Liam Parker, while Andy Parish returned to the bench after months of absence through injury.
Arron Scutt also returned to the squad, starting on the bench.
Lincoln-based Rustons looked much different to the side the seasiders beat twice without reply in the Supplementary Cup in September and October.
They have added some experience in recent weeks and Leigh Cook between the sticks was proving a difficult nut to crack.
Indeed, the visitors had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 19th minute when Joe Barratt stole in on the blind side of McCauley Parker, but he dragged his shot wide as keeper James Lambley approached.
Rustons were made to rue that miss 10 minutes later when roving right back Courtney Warren found himself unmarked in the Rustons box and swept home the opener.
Ten minutes before the break a sharp finish from Wade Hurst made it 2-0 as the seasiders turned up the heat, but Cook kept his side in the game was some heroic keeping, denying Smith and Ben Davison with diving saves to his right.
So Town changed ends with only two goals in the bank, and Sports had the advantage of the strong wind to look forward to.
They spent more time in the home half after the break, but it was Skegness who created the better chances.
Sports’s Ian Ward gave Rustons hope when he broke down the left, but he failed to test Lambley.
At the other end Will Britton fired over and Luke Rayner-Mistry stung Cook’s fingers.
The pressure continued to build on Cook’s goal and he was grateful to see Smith’s shot rebound to safety after crashing against the cross bar.
But the relief was shortlived.
Smith finally produced the killer goal in the 80th minute when he outpaced his defender down the inside left channel and steered the ball past Cook.
Three minutes later he added the fourth when he drilled the ball into the bottom corner through a crowded goalmouth.
“I thought we played some good football at times, despite the heavy going,” said Lilywhites boss Nick Chapman.
“It was particularly pleasing to keep another clean sheet.”
The win leaves Skegness seven points behind leaders Sleaford Town Reserves with a game in hand after Sleaford were beaten at Lincoln Railway.
TOWN: Lambley, Warren, M. Parker, Veall, Chamberlain, Epton, Hurst, Davison, Britton, Smith, Rayner-Mistry, Scutt, Parish, Shelley.