Cleethorpes AKP did just enough to win a tight local derby with Louth Town Reserves 3-2.
The game got off to a slow start with both sides cancelling each other out in the early stages. Neither side looked like scoring until Town managed a fortuitous goal in the 13th minute.
Debutante Brendan McGeough whipped in a cross from the right and it looked like Ben Keal would make a routine catch. However, the ball somehow slipped through his fingertips and into the back of the net.
Minutes after the restart Chris Ella thought he’d doubled Town’s lead only to see his effort disallowed. Ella’s strike partner, Adam Coddington, played him in and he slotted past Keal then realized the flag was up for offside.
McGeough was having a fine debut and forced Keal into a save from a free kick. McGeogh curled a 25-yard free kick round the wall and Keal dived across his line to keep it out of the top right corner.
Towards the end of the half Cleethorpes had their only real chance to speak of. Matty Oswin took a short corner to Jordan Vatcher who crossed for Steve Wright to head wide of the left post.
Cameron Robertson was booked for no clear reason before the half time whistle was blown. Town were 1-0 up at the interval after a promising 45 minutes, but made a slow start to the second half and conceded twice in quick succession.
Cleethorpes equalized in the 55th minute through Lee Syer, who drilled in Reece Newell’s low cross from the right.
A few minutes later Town conceded a similar goal scored by Vatcher. On that occasion Jodan Boyington sent in a low cross from the left and Vatcher was there to fire in from close range.
Town equalized on 68 minutes thanks to clever thinking by Craig Dalton. The Town manager asked Rocky Rawlings to drift inside to find the ball – that meant he was in the right place at the right time to equalize.
Guy Cook sliced his clearance to Rawlings whose shot was saved by Keal. Rawlings fired in the rebound to put Town back on level terms. If Rawlings had still been out on the left wing he would not have capitalized on that mistake.
Soon afterwards Rawlings almost netted another goal. Cameron Robertson floated in a free kick and Rawlings connected with a header that struck the right post.
In the 87th minute Cleethorpes went on an attack at the other end and managed a late winner. Vatcher cut inside from the left and squared for Newell to fire in from close range.
Town pushed forwards for a late equalizer, but didn’t find one and Cleethorpes hung on for a narrow win.
Manager Craig Dalton knew his team deserved better. He said: “I was gutted to lose like that in the dying minutes.
“We were 1-0 up at half time after a good first half, but they came at us in the second half to go 2-1 up. At that point I asked Rocky to tuck in a bit and thankfully my decision paid off. Once we’d pulled it back we hit the post and a move or two later they scored.
“It was another solid performance all around and I was gutted for the lads. Progress is being made and there’s a lot to build on.”
Town are next in action on Saturday August 30 away to CGB Humbertherm in the league (3pm).
Hay; Marshall, Stainton, Towl, Johnson; Rawlings, Robertson, S.McSpadden, McGeogh (B.Coulam 63); Coddington, Ella.
Booked: Robertson 44.
Scorer(s): McGeogh 13, Rawlings 68.
Man of the match: Rawlings.