Skegness Town 3
Hykeham Town 1
At a rain-soaked Burgh Road, Skegness Town drew first blood in the clash of the Lincolnshire League’s big guns.
The seasiders will now travel to reigning champions Hykeham in a couple of weeks’ time in confident mood for the return fixture after producing their best performance of the season so far to overcome their title rivals.
The win lifted them to fourth in the table.
The Lilywhites started brightly and a third-minute snap shot from Luke Rayner-Mistry tested Cooper.
Good work between Bartlett and Arron Scutt down the right created an opening for Wade Hurst, but he blasted wide from 12 yards.
Skegness continued to press and when Rayner-Mistry laid the ball off to Bartlett, he fizzed the ball wide when well placed.
At the other end Mike Sullivan was proving a handful for Miles Chamberlain.
As they stepped up the pace Courtney Warren had Cooper at full stretch with a shot from the edge of the area, and you sensed that it was only a matter of time before the seasiders would turn the pressure into goals.
The breakthrough came after 36 minutes.
Chamberlain cleared his lines and sent Davison away with a long ball over the top. The Skegness skipper was neck and neck with Hykeham’s Ben Wyld until the defender slipped and Davison took full advantage to drill the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot.
The seasiders continued in positive mood and finished the half strongly.
The closest they came to extending their lead was a vicious shot from Warren, which Cooper pushed onto his far post with a dive to his right.
Skegness began the second half on the front foot and a brave save at the feet of Davison prevented the striker extending the home side’s lead.
But in the 52nd minute the advantage was doubled.
Referee Matt Clarkson tried to allow an advantage after Rayner-Mistry was upended, but brought the play back when it didn’t materialise.
McCauley Parker produced an excellent delivery from the resultant free kick and an unmarked Bartlett rose to head home.
Three minutes later the deficit was halved when a shot from James Slater through a crowded goal area was deflected past a wrong-footed Michael Emery.
Fears that the seasiders would come under pressure for the remainder of the match were eased when Davison stabbed the ball home when Cooper palmed McCauley Parker’s free kick into his path in the 56th minute.
On the hour Hurst raced clear on the right and he crossed into the box, but Bartlett’s first touch let him down and Hykeham scrambled the ball away.
The visitors then had a good spell and Callum Chapman hit the bar before Scutt headed away and when the ball broke to leading scorer Chris Funnell he pulled his shot wide of the target.
At the other end Davison chipped an effort just over.
With 15 minutes left Hykeham’s Robin Newman saw his shot smothered comfortably by Emery as the visitors upped the tempo and Scutt cleared off the line after Emery’s punch was returned with interest by Sullivan.
As the Lilywhites looked to hit Hykeham on the break two late opportunities for Davison to complete his hat-trick were thwarted by Cooper.
TOWN: Emery, Warren, Epton, Scutt, Chamberlain, L. Parker, Hurst, Davison, Rayner-Mistry, Bartlett, M. Parker, Drysdale, Britton, Hardy, Crossley.
On Saturday, Town travel to Cleethorpes Town Development Squad in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup (KO 1.30pm).