Lincolnshire Football League review

Kieron Togher EMN-160401-145826002
Kieron Togher EMN-160401-145826002

Market Rasen Town will hope the new year brings improved fortunes after five consecutive defeats left them rock bottom of the Balcan Lighting Supplies Lincolnshire League.

They do have the scalp of 2014 champions Skegness Town under their belts after a 3-2 success at Burgh Road, but this is their only highlight, having been knocked out of their three cup competitions.

January’s four fixtures are at home, so they will be looking to stem the tide of defeats, but their opponents include leaders Sleaford Town Reserves, who they meet this Saturday, and champions Hykeham Town.

They will need to draw on the experience of the Skegness win to turn their season round.

Brigg Town Reserves are sitting handily placed in fourth spot having played more than half of their league games already.

After a difficult start to the campaign as the league new boys, their fortunes have improved in recent weeks with only one league defeat in six.

* Sleaford Town Reserves go into Saturday’s match at Rase Park having dropped their first league points of the season in the last game of 2015.

The Eslaforde Park outfit opened their league campaign with eight straight wins before coming unstuck, 4-1, against champions Hykeham Town just before Christmas.

Talented strikers Nathan Thompson and Jac Wright have 24 goals between them, but Sleaford’s depth of squad is underlined by their 12 different scorers in all competitions.

* Second-placed Wyberton closed the gap on the final game of 2015 when they comfortably beat Horncastle Town, 4-0, at The Wong.

The villagers have now lost only once since mid-October thanks largely to their defence which have conceded just three league goals all season.

They begin 2016 with a County Cup quarter-final at home to Lincolnshire League rivals Hykeham Town who thumped them 6-1 in the Challenge Cup in November.

Lee Orrey is their top marksman with 11 goals from 15 games in all competitions.

* Orrey’s former club Skegness Town occupy third place having scored 16 goals in their last four games.

They have been knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Cleethorpes Town Development Squad, but have a date with Epworth Town in the Lincolnshire FA Junior Cup quarter-finals on January 9.

They sit on the shoulder of Wyberton in the league table on the same points, having played one game more.

* Fifth-placed Lincoln Railway AFC also got off to a poor start, losing four of their first six games, but Simon Mowbray’s 14 league goals from seven appearances have got the Railmen’s season back on track.

Mowbray’s tally for the season includes six goals in one game against Rasen when Railway racked up double figures.

* A total of 46 players have helped Cleethorpes Town Development Squad into the top half of the league table, although they haven’t played a league game since their 3-1 win over Horncastle on Hallowe’en.

They have a Challenge Cup semi-final to look forward to in the new year and are also through to the last eight of the Supplementary Cup.

But they didn’t fare so well in the Lincs Junior Cup, going down 4-0 at home to Limestone Rangers in their last game of 2015.

* Reigning champions Hykeham Town have already lost three times as many league games as they lost in their entire title-winning season.

But they are expected to make the most of their games in hand to be there or thereabouts in the final analysis.

New signing Chris Funnell has struck 15 times in all competitions this season as the holders look to defend their Lincs Junior Cup crown.

They have twice hit double figures in the competition and are also through to the later stages of the Challenge Cup and Supplementary Cup.

* Eighth-placed CGB Humbertherm started the season well with three straight league wins which lifted them to the top of the tree, but no domestic victories since has seen them slip down the table.

One of their biggest problems has been raising a team, with two trips to Lincoln-based Ruston Sports in league and cup having to be postponed for that reason.

* Under the new management of Gary Edgley and John Barker, Skegness United have failed to reach the heights of previous seasons, but they do have a Challenge Cup semi-final to look forward to after edging through on penalties at Ruston Sports in November.

* Horncastle Town have struggled to score this term, with only four goals to show for their efforts after eight league games.

Richard Jackson has netted three of those and Carl Smith the other, but The Wongers have enjoyed more success in front of goal during cup games.

They have a home Supplementary Cup quarter-final against Wyberton or Cleethorpes Town Development Squad to savour in February.

* Ruston Sports have been rebuilding their team this season after losing several players to neighbours Lincoln Railway.

They bagged three points at fellow strugglers Market Rasen Town in August, but have failed to register further league points since, despite improved results in the cups.

Sports travel to Newark Road rivals and cup holders Hykeham Town on February 27 in the quarter-finals of the Supplementary Cup after finishing second in their group.

Their first three league fixtures of 2016 are at home so they will hope to continue the improvement and pick up more points in the new year.