Skegness Town 1
Lincoln Railway AFC 1
(aet - Railway won 3-2 on penalties)
For the second time in the space of two months Skegness Town missed out on the semi-finals of a cup competition by failing in a penalty shootout.
Hot on the heels of their county cup exit at Epworth Town, the Lilywhites crashed out at home to a side they had already beaten twice in the league.
Level on goals at the end of two hour’s play, they turned their attention to spot kicks and the Railmen had a goalkeeper determined to steal the show.
There was no intervention needed for Town’s first effort, blasted over the bar by Miles Chamberlain, but after conceding to Andy Parish, visiting keeper Josh Desforges dived to his right to keep out Matt Veall’s shot.
McCauley Parker netted to keep Town interested, but his brother Liam had his spot kick saved by Desforges to complete a miserable afternoon for the seasiders.
This was a scrappy game, with the heavy and uneven pitch playing a part.
The home side found it difficult to string together their passes and their body language suggested that frustration was getting the better of them.
Meanwhile, their opponents were happy to concede possession for most of the game, in the hope that they could hit the seasiders with occasional counter attacks.
From one such raid Chris Nuttall broke down the left but pulled his shot wide as Town keeper Ashley Bentley approached.
Skegness finally broke the deadlock on the hour when McCauley Parker curled a free kick round the defensive wall and into the top corner.
Desforges managed to get a hand to it, but he couldn’t prevent it going in.
The Skegness faithful in the North Stand, who had been joined for the afternoon by a group of groundhoppers, must have thought a repeat of the 4-0 league win over the same opponents was on the cards.
After all the Railmen were without the suspended Simon Mowbray, whose goal tally for the season has put him in the box seat for the Golden Boot award.
But instead the hardworking Liam Bradley equalised for the visitors, who showed great spirit against a steady stream of Skegness attacks.
As they tired, they came under even more pressure from Town, but Desforges kept out efforts from Wade Hurst, Luke Rayner-Mistry, Will Britton and Ben Davison with some solid goalkeeping.
Right at the death Lincoln substitute Alex Forster almost grabbed the glory when he broke down the left, but his shot failed to trouble Bentley.
Extra time followed a similar pattern, with Town dominating possession, but Railway getting men behind the ball in numbers.
The visitors hung on with Matt Burkes and Stuart Ward particularly outstanding at the heart of their defence, throwing themselves in front of a number of late Skegness shots.
So it turned to penalties and the visitors held their nerve to go through to the semi-finals.
TOWN: Bentley, Warren, Epton, M. Parker, Chamberlain, L. Parker, Hurst, Davison, Britton, Smith, Rayner-Mistry, Parish, Veall.
On Saturday Skegness Town return to league action when they travel to Market Rasen Town (kick-off 3pm).