Louth Town’s reserves were unlucky not to claim all three points as they drew 2-2 with league leaders Skegness United on Saturday.
Skegness United went into the match at Park Avenue with a practically perfect record of 20 wins and two draws out of their 22 Lincs league matches.
Former White Wolves Phil Winter and Kurt Crossley both scored to deny Town a win, but this was a good result nonetheless.
A free kick was floated in from the left and headed narrowly over by Crossley. At the other end an early penalty kick was awarded for an off the ball incident which Adam Cowdell was booked for.
Rocky Rawlings drilled his spot kick towards the bottom right corner and was thwarted by a great save from Ben Martin. The young lad had to go one way and hope the goalkeeper wouldn’t guess correctly – unfortunately he did.
Soon afterwards Rawlings made amends for failing to convert his penalty by setting up the first goal. Rawlings released Paul Coulam on the right wing and he cut inside to fire in from just outside the area.
Crossley had a shot well stopped by Ben Smith before Winter equalized for Skegness. The ball was squared across goal for Winter to blast into the roof of the net.
Skegness created a few chances towards the end of the first half. A decent block by Nathan Walton, a save by Smith and poor finishing meant the score remained 1-1 at half time.
Skipper Luke Burton had a back injury so he did not return for the second half. Dan Pawson came on and Dave Pawson took over at centre half – he was given Burton’s armband too.
In the 49th minute Skegness took the lead due to a controversial goal by Crossley. A free kick was swung in and came to Crossley who took a touch and slotted in; however, he looked suspiciously offside. The flag stayed down despite Town’s protests and the goal stood.
Winter missed a chance to net his second of the afternoon and moments later Rawlings was taken off injured. Rawlings had a calf strain and was replaced by Frazer Findlay.
Town were level with just over an hour player thanks to substitute Dan Pawson. Chris Ella flicked on Joe Rennie’s throw in from the right and Dan Pawson was there to shoot into the far corner.
A couple of minutes after creating the equalizer Ella became the third Town player to sustain an injury. Ella came off worst in a challenge and tweaked his knee so he was unable to continue. Danny Marshall was brought on for him.
Skegness really went for it late on and were unlucky not to find a winner. The visitors saw a couple of efforts fly narrowly wide and hit the post not once, but twice in the final 10 minutes.
In the first instance the ball fell kindly to Crossley and his powerful drive struck the base of the left post. In injury time Ryan O’Louglin let fly from the edge of the box and hit the outside of the same post.
Town just about hung on for a well earned point. To have avoided defeat versus such a strong, free scoring team that are almost guaranteed to finish top of the table was quite an achievement.
Craig Dalton was impressed with the work rate.
“We put a really good shift in against the team that are top of the league,” said the Town boss.
“Although they possibly weren’t at their best, we still had to work hard and could have quite easily won the game.
“The commitment shown from some of the players through tough weeks has been encouraging.
“It’s just a shame our last two fixtures are spread out over many weeks which makes it hard to carry the momentum of this result into our next match.”
The reserves are not in action next week so their next fixture is at home to Lincoln United Reserves on Saturday, April 13 (3pm).