Draw considered a fair result all round - Report by David Robinson
A breezy day at the interestingly named West Lancs College Stadium saw honours finish even after an entertaining encounter. For the visitors Ben Richardson’s fine right wing cross was headed to safety by Strickland and from the resulting corner Chris Lynch put his header just wide of the near post.
Last season’s first division champions then moved onto the attack and a fine through ball saw Burnett lob his effort over the advancing Phillips but with the ball looking likely to drift wide of the goal Hughes was adjudged to have been fouled by debutant Hardiker resulting in a penalty which Hughes saw saved by Phillips from a unconvincing effort. The Skem winger who was chosen as man of the match made amends 10 mins later as he drifted in from the right wing and provided a fine finish to open the scoring. Ashton’s last chance of levelling before the interval saw Gee place his curling effort too high from Denham’s lay back.
With the wind at their backs after the break Ashton showed more purpose and Logan’s blocked cross fell to Rick who hooked his shot off target. A fine through ball at the other end saw Leadbetter firing a good chance well wide of goal but there were only 10 mins of the second period gone when man of the moment Martin Pilkington registered his third strike of the week after exchanging passes with Lee Rick and Chris Denham.
As Skelmersdale attempted to regain the initiative Hughes played in Burnett who blazed over but it was the visitors who began to look like the more likely winners as Pilkington robbed keeper Hibbert and saw his effort cleared off the line. Hughes had a weak effort saved before Logan gave the ball away and Hughes saw his pull back fired over the top by Wright. The same players almost combined for the winner as Hughes’ cross was helped onto the crossbar by Phillips from Wright’s header to keep the scoreline level and provide a fair result.
Team: Phillips, Richardson, Tandy, Gorton, (Pearson) Lynch (c), Hardiker, (Pilkington) Denham, Gee, Coppin, (J O’Neill) Rick, Logan. SNU: Freakes, M O’Neill