Boss Rawlinson proud of Skegness Town players despite play-off final pain

​Chris Rawlinson says he remains proud of his Skegness Town side’s achievements this season despite a heavy play-off final defeat at Loughborough Students on Saturday.
It wasn’t to be for Chris Rawlinson and his players on Saturday.It wasn’t to be for Chris Rawlinson and his players on Saturday.
It wasn’t to be for Chris Rawlinson and his players on Saturday.

​The young hosts ran out 7-0 winners in the UCL Premier North final, thanks largely to a blistering start that saw them four goals up in 16 minutes and then the ability to add further late goals as the Lilywhites tired late on.

And in conceding his side were beaten by a team with vastly superior quality on the day, Rawlinson didn’t have a bad word to say about the Skegness players.

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He said: “Of course it wasn’t the result we were looking for, or expected if I’m honest, especially in a play-off final.

"First and foremost, congratulations go to Loughborough on their promotion – on the day they were far too good for us and in my opinion would have been far too good for anyone in this league or the one above.

"I’ve been in non-league management teams for 12 years now and it was as good a performance as I’ve ever seen.

"I can’t fault our lads’ work rate and desire to get back in the game even when we were four or five down, and for large spells we were OK but when Loughborough broke and found the pockets of play, they were exceptional.

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"It’s incredibly disappointing to have that scoreline but that’s football and these things can happen. We had a great following from Skegness and we thank everyone who came, and we didn’t want to just be negative and trying to keep the score down.

“To take a coach load of fans from Skegness to Loughborough is unheard of before and highlights the steps we’ve made this year to get in the play-offs and to get the town behind us has been brilliant.”

Rawlinson highlighted Loughborough’s overall fitness and setup as being a key reason for their success.

He added: “With Loughborough’s youth, exuberance and ability and all the infrastructure behind it, it’s much more like playing a Football League academy side, rather than what we’re more used to.”

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Attention now turns to Bank Holiday Monday and the United Counties League Cup Final against Wellingborough Town (see story on right) as Skegness round off a season of huge progress on and off the pitch.

​The match will take place at the home of Harrowby United near Grantham, with Wellingborough set to be a tough opposition given they are champions of the Premier South having finished 12 points clear.

And following Saturday’s play-off final disappointment, boss Chris Rawlinson hopes for more cheer this time around.

He said: “It will be a tough game given we’re playing the South champions, who won the Champions Cup too so will be going for the treble.

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"But we have beaten the second and third-placed teams in that league on this run to the final [RC Warwick and Aylestone Park], as well as the second-placed team in our division in Lincoln United, so we’ve nothing to fear.

"It will be so much more of a non-league game than Saturday was given Loughborough’s setup.

"This game will probably be more suited to us and I just hope we can manage what will be a shock given Wellingborough are favourites, and give our supporters who will follow us in good numbers again on Monday, something to cheer, but perhaps more importantly to give the committee, the players, the volunteers, staff etc, some joy too.

"It’s been a successful season, even if we lose, but all the focus is now on trying to win that trophy and make the campaign something that we can remember for a long, long time.”