LINCOLNSHIRE JUNIOR CUP – RD 1
SKEGNESS UNITED 4 STAMFORD LIONS 3
United started their Junior Cup campaign against Stamford Lions who play in the Premier Division of the Peterborough and District League which is two levels above United.
Currently Stamford are in fourth place in their league with just one defeat from their opening six games.
United were missing centre back Alex Simpson out for 6 weeks with an injury and the unavailable Kurt Crossley.
The opening 15 minutes saw very little goal mouth action until on 15 minutes Ryan O’Loughlin was only inches wide of the upright from giving United the lead from a free kick.
However, they only had to wait another 5 minutes from taking the lead when Dom Lyons picked up a ball in midfield and ran across the visitors defence before laying the ball into the path of JOHN COURTNEY who scored with a shot across the visiting keeper into the far corner.
Within two minutes United were two up when a pass out to DOM LYONS split the visitors defence and he went on to place a shot past the Stamford keeper as he came off his line.
Within a minute the visitors were back in the game when they were awarded a penalty for which only the referee knows the reason. Keeper Jack Minor came to the edge of his area and cleared the ball and Jamie Lyall and a visiting forward fell on him as they both went for the ball.
The resulting penalty was duly despatched giving Minor no chance. Within minutes Stamford hit the top of the bar after a cross from the right.
On 24 minutes United restored their two goal advantage when JOHN COURTNEY fired in a free kick from 20 yards into the top corner giving the keeper no chance.
Shortly afterwards O’Loughlin was just wide of the target with a shot. On 32 minutes Stamford again pulled a goal back when, from a corner a player was unmarked in the box and powered his header home.
Then O’Loughlin was again inches away from scoring with a shot from outside the area.
The half time whistle ended the half with United holding a slender lead in which had been an entertaining game with both teams looking to attack at every opportunity.
On 60 minutes the visitors drew level when after a ball had been cleared from the United area a Stamford player picked up the ball and fired past Minor into the top corner.
However, within two minutes United had restored their lead. Again JOHN COURTNEY fired in a free kick from around 20 yards into the top corner giving the keeper no chance, and completed his hat trick.
With 15 minutes to go Stamford came close to drawing level when Lyall diverted a shot at goal out for a corner. Then Minor saved a shot at point-blank range.
At this stage of the game Stamford were putting more balls into the box, however the United defence stood firm and were always dangerous on the break.
With minutes to go United should have been awarded a penalty of their own when Zak Bray who had only been on the pitch a couple of minutes was pulled back after breaking free of the visitors defence.
At the final whistle United had progressed to the next round in which had been one of their best displays over the last couple of seasons.
After the match manager Michael Howard said “What a win and what performance the lads put in today. I could not ask for better. It was a great game to watch, Stamford were big, powerful and it showed through their set pieces at times. However we set out what we needed to achieve by sticking to our game plan. Very proud of the whole team.”
Team: Jack Minor, Alex Kendrick, Danny Wager, Jamie Turner, Jamie Lyall, Ross Muirhead, Dom Lyons, Danny Wilkes (Zak Bray), John Courtney, Ryan O’Loughlin and Keaton Grainger.
Unused Subs: Rhys Mansell, Kieran Rayner-Mistry and Jack Ashwell.
Hodgkinson’s Man of Match: Keaton Grainger.