Swallownest closed the gap on ninth place in Toolstation NCEL Division One....
I have no complaints about the score line.....
Swallownest closed the gap on ninth place in Toolstation NCEL Division One yesterday after a hard-fought clash with fifteenth-placed Skegness Town. The home side took all three points through Ollie Grady’s thirteenth minute spot kick in front of a crowd of 89 at Rotherham Road to edge the win - but the Swallownest Management team were both relieved to get past the Lilywhites who provided the toughest of challenges, writes Colin Muncie.
Skegness Joint Manager, Nathan Collins had mentioned before the game that a recent dip in form was largely attributable to a long injury list, but he’s getting his players back and expects to move back up the table soon enough. The home side, for their part, were anxious to build on last week’s fine win at Dronfield Town, where, by their own admission, they had played some of their best football of the season.
Alex Lill and Ollie Grady had grabbed most of the headlines last weekend, and as the game got underway, they continued pretty much where they left off on a heavy pitch and into a blustery wind, with Nathan Morritt also making a nuisance of himself. Just before the quarter hour, they took the lead, when after a clumsy challenge just inside their own box, Skegness conceded a penalty, and Grady expertly converted low to James Lambley’s despairing left hand.
It was by no means a game for the purist, but you couldn’t question the absolute commitment of both sides as no challenge was shirked and every loose ball chased down. Lill was denied at least one point-blank shot by the brilliant Lambley and full backs Mitch Kent and Ash Cooper pushed on at every opportunity. Skegness were just getting a foothold in the contest when the referee blew for half-time, and you just wondered if the hosts might just regret not converting at least one more of their chances.
Half-time came and went, but the wind didn’t, and the rain blew in over Swallownest. Conditions were awful, but if anything, the tempo of the game increased with one or two of the challenges forcing referee Matthew Malton to his pocket. The visiting technical area were getting more and more frustrated with one or two of the decisions, with their side starting to carve out one or two chances of their own. Alex Lill will have woken up this morning wondering how he didn’t get on the score sheet, but visiting ‘keeper Lambley was the principal reason with another stunning point-blank save.
As the clock ran down, what appeared to be a tough, but fifty-fifty challenge ignited a rumble in the jungle with just about every one of the 22 players involved and a few punches being thrown. It took referee Malton and his fellow officials a few minutes to conduct their investigations, but when all had died down Skegness’s Callum Robinson saw red and the decibel level from the visiting bench cranked up another notch.
Swallownest had at least two one-on–one opportunities to kill the game denied by the outstanding Lambley as the visitors pushed for the equaliser. The Lilywhites came close on a couple of occasions as they took the initiative, with one resulting in a desperate goal line clearance, and Josh Lill much the busier keeper, but the hosts ran the clock down to secure a precious three points against opponents who will play much worse than this and win.
Swallownest Manager, Jordan Stocks had been wary of Skegness ahead of the game. “Yesterday’s game was a good battle to say the least,” he admitted. “We knew it would be a tough game as they’ve really picked up. In the first half I felt we had the better and went in one up. We mentioned that conditions and second balls would be key in the second-half and that was the case. Skeggy really came at us - but credit to us as we stayed strong and got a clean sheet to give us the win.”
“We now move on to training mid-week and a tough test against Grimsby Borough next Saturday.”
Assistant Manager, Joel Evans admitted that the match might not live long in the memories of the spectators. “To put it bluntly the game itself wasn’t a spectacular for anyone watching, but all that matters are the points,” he told TBG. “Fair play to Skegness who might feel aggrieved they didn't get anything from the game, but we also had chances to kill the game off. The conditions didn't help both teams, and therefore they dictated how the game was played.”
“We move on though with another three points in the bag and we need to prepare again for another tough game next week.”
Skegness’ Joint Manager, Nathan Collins took a philosophical approach after the game, and although disappointed by the outcome, saw plenty from his side to encourage him. “I’m really pleased with our lads’ efforts today,” he acknowledged. “Swallownest is not an easy place to go and get a result, but I don’t think our lads could have given us much more today. We have missed two or three really good chances, but on the flip side our ‘keeper has made a couple of great saves.”
“I have no complaints about the score line,” Nathan added, “and if our lads give us that level of effort and desire from now until the end of the season, they will have no complaints from me.”