VIDEO: Skegness United 3, Horncastle 1

United maintained their six point lead at the top of the table as well as their long unbeaten streak after victory over Horncastle on Saturday.

United welcomed Kurt Crossley and Kyle McGuigan back to the starting line up.

Action from Skegness United v Horncastle on Saturday.

Action from Skegness United v Horncastle on Saturday.

It was United who started brightly taking the game to Horncastle, and a half chance fell to Arron Scutt, however the ball was cleared before he could get his shot off.

It was on eight minutes when United took the lead when a shot was not collected cleanly by Brody Willerton in the visitors goal, the loose ball was picked up by Luke Rayner-Mistry who bamboozled two defenders before cutting inside and firing home from 10 yards.

United were playing some great football and they should really have doubled their lead when Rayner-Mistry played in Kurt Crossley down the left and his pinpoint cross was headed just wide by Ryan O’Loughlin.

Horncastle’s first sight of goal came on 15 minutes when Tony Edwards picked a ball up in midfield, however his final shot was well wide of the target.

Three minutes later Crossley played a through ball for Sam Sleight to run onto, however there was too much pace on the ball and it went out for a goal kick. Kyle McGuigan then released Crossley who laid the ball to O’Loughlin who was just wide with his shot.

The front three of Crossley, O’Loughlin and Rayner-Mistry were causing all sorts of problems to the visitors’ defence with their running off the ball, but could not find the final shot to match their build up play.

At half-time United went in with a one goal advantage although they will have been slightly disappointed not to have added to their lead.

The second half got underway and on 51 minutes the United players were left reeling when the referee failed to award a penalty after Crossley was manhandled in the Horncastle area.

All protests were waved away to the outrage of the home faithful.

But all was forgotten a short while later when, on 53 minutes, United doubled their lead. Some nice football between O’Loughlin and Crossley opened up space for Sleight to hit a sublime strike that nestled in the bottom right corner of the Horncastle goal.

At this stage Jordan Smith replaced Phil Winters and within two minutes United had increased their lead. Following a mix up in the visitors’ defence Crossley picked up the loose ball and played it into Ryan O’Loughlin who side stepped his marker before effortlessly firing into the top corner from just inside the area.

This maintained O’Loughlin’s record of scoring in all 18 league games.

Then six minutes later Horncastle reduced the arrears when Dan Bent was left unmarked to head home past Martin.

Shortly afterwards Rayner-Mistry went on a cross field run beating four players before releasing Scutt whose shot lacked power and was saved by Willerton.

The Horncastle goal had given them some hope of getting something from the game and at this stage they were looking more dangerous than at any time in the match. From a free kick on the left Tony Edwards was wide of the mark with his header.

On 70 minutes Michael Howard replaced Ryan O’Loughlin.

The remainder of the game was played out in the middle of the park and the game ended with United maintaining their sixpoint lead at the top of the table.

United’s Assistant Manager, Jason Smith, said: “We were by no means at our best today but we made sure we got another important three points which keeps us in a fantastic position in the title race.”

Team: Ben Martin, Josh Bartlett, Kyle McGuigan, Jordan Walden, Jamie Skinner, Sam Sleight, Phil Winter (Jordan Smith), Aaron Scutt, Luke Rayner-Mistry, Ryan O’Loughlin (Michael Howard) and Kurt Crossley.

Man of the Match: Aaron Scutt

This Saturday United have another home game when they entertain Hykeham Town with a 2pm kick off.