EAST LINCS DIVISION 2 LEAGUE CUP FINAL
SKEGNESS UNITED 0 SUTTON ROVERS 0
(SKEGNESS UNITED WON 7 – 6 ON PENALITIES)
United travelled to Saltfleetby home of Louth Town to play Sutton Rovers in the final of East Lincs Division 2 League Cup Final.
This was the seventh meeting between the two sides with United having losses in three previous cup semi-finals over the last three weeks, were looking to add one cup trophy to their league title.
United had a setback in the warm up when Sam Sleight sustained a knee injury and had to be replaced by Jonny Hodson.
United started the brighter of the two sides and on twelve minutes Keaton Grainger hit the crossbar with a long range shot. The remainder of the half was an even affair with both defences on top and very few scoring opportunies. The only concern for United was an injury to keeper Jack Minor when he came out to collect a ball and collided with a Sutton player. This restricted his kicking for the remainder of the game.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with defences on top. Late in the game, United were under the impression they had won the match with minutes remaining. A ball from the United left into the six yard box was missed by both Marcus Mackay in the Sutton goal and Conor Minor which allowed the ball to roll into the net. The referee appeared to indicate a goal to United by pointing to the centre circle and the players from both sides moved towards the centre. Mackay was injured when colliding with Minor and when he recovered the referee awarded a free kick to Sutton.
The game moved into extra time and with only a couple of minutes remaining in the second period, further drama. Sutton were awarded a penalty after Arun Gray - who had only been on the pitch a few minutes was adjudged to have brought down a Sutton player.
From the resulting penalty kick taken by Adam Cannon keeper Minor dived to his right and saved the kick at the second attempt. In doing so he was injured which resulted in a long delay before the game could continue. As neither side could find the net, the game went into penalties. There was a real sense of déja vu as this had happened the last time both teams met. From the first five mandatory kicks, both sides successfully put their respective penalties away. This took us to sudden death. It was now a real nailbiter! From the sixth penalty both teams scored. The tension for both sides was immense and growing with every kick. United stepped up and scored with their seventh. It was all down to Sutton. As he had done a few minutes before the end of the match, Jack Minor again dived to his right to save the penalty. The cup was United’s!
United’s successful penalty takers were Ryan O’Loughlin, John Courtney, Jonny Hodson, Alex Kendrick, Arun Gray, Jamie Turner and Conor Minor.
It had been a keenly-contested match with both sides giving 100% and was a fitting end to the contests between both teams.
After the match United players also received their title winning medals along with League Cup and medals.
Team: Jack Minor, Jamie Lyall, Kieran Rayner-Mistry, Kyle McGuigan, Alex Simpson (Arun Gray), Jonny Hodson, Alex Kendrick, John Courtney, Keaton Grainger (Conor Minor), Ryan O’Loughlin and Jamie Turner.
The previous evening Wednesday United playing their third semi-final loss to Grimsby Borough Development by 4 – 2 in the Timothy Sales Trophy.
In the first half United played possibly their worst 45 minutes of football of the season and at half time found themselves 4 – 0 down. The second half they played more like their season’s form and pulled two goals back through Ryan O’Loughlin and Kieran Rayner-Mistry. However the margin of 4 goals was two many to claw back against a good footballing Grimsby Borough side.