United scrape past cleethorpes to enter next round

Challenge Cup Round 2

Skegness United 2

Cleethorpes Town Reserves 1

SKEGNESS UNITED’S first cup appearance of the year saw them play host to Cleethorpes Town Reserves at Wainfleet Road on Saturday.

United started the brighter with an assist from Kurt Crossley sliding a ball through to Ryan O’Loughlin to curl a beautiful effort low into the corner.

From there, Cleethorpes began to pressure the home side, but the United defence stayed firm and withstood the onslaught. This seemed to continue with the United defence keeping Cleethorpes at bay after they played some nice football.

Luke Rayner-Mistry then began to cause havoc on the left wing with Cleethorpes struggling to keep up with his blistering pace. Kyle McGuigan (playing at left-back) then saw Rayner-Mistry bundled off the ball after a great run through the Cleethorpes defence.

The game was physical but fair, with both sides keen to win the ball in the centre of the field.

Cleethorpes continued to put pressure on the United defence but Ben Martin was outstanding in goal – there was no way through, finishing 1-0 to United at half-time.

The second half began as the first half ended, with Cleethorpes piling pressure on the United defence, but to no avail. The partnership in attack of Crossley and O’Loughlin is starting to prove fruitful this season, with both players developing an understanding of each other and working as a single unit. The returning Jamie Skinner then linked with O’Loughlin and Rayner-Mistry to force a great save from the Cleethorpes goalkeeper.

It continued to be a physical game until the assistant referee missed a blatant offside from Cleethorpes to see the striker brought down in the penalty area and the referee pointing to the spot, which was duly converted to make it 1-1.

The stalemate did not last long as yet again, O’Loughlin fired into the Cleethorpes goal to restore the United advantage. Cleethorpes continued to show spirit but were unable to get the ball in the United net, with the match ending 2-1 to United and the name ‘in the hat’ for the next round!

After the match, manager Mark Hallam said of the victory: “Despite being nowhere near our best, it was just about making sure our name was in the hat for the next round.”

United face a tough trip to high flying Nettleham on Saturday.”

Man of the Match: Ross Muirhead

Match Sponsor: Batemans Brewery

Match Ball Sponsor: New Era Gym

Squad: Martin, McGuigan, Walden, Muirhead, Rayner-Mistry, O’Loughlin, Nicholls, Stainton, Crossley, Scutt, Hallam.