The Reds secure much needed 3 points in 2-0 win
Ossett Town 2 Skelmersdale Utd 0
Ossett Town welcomed Skelmersdale Utd to a wet and windy night at Ingfield for a Tuesday night clash with both teams looking for an elusive 3 points.
Skelmersdale travelled across the M62 from Merseyside with only 2 points from a possible 21 from their last seven games. After a bad run themselves, the Reds have shown a resurgence of form in the last 2 previous games losing narrowly 3-2 away to play off candidates Bamber Bridge followed by a respectable 2-2 draw against Clitheroe.
This fixture was a must win game for Ossett manager Lee Ashforth who has had to quickly re-structure his squad after the departure of several key players, indeed there were 6 newly signed players named in todays squad.
Lee Ashforth made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Clitheroe bringing Fabian Bailey in at right back and pushing Anthony Mackie into wide midfield with Lee Overton returning from injury in goal.
With a strong biting wind and a weather damaged playing surface this was not a game for silky skills with clearly the wind going to cause problems at both ends of the pitch.
Ossett started the game well with both sides seeing plenty of the ball. The visitors had come with a game plan and incessantly knocked the ball long in an attempt to force the Reds into defensive errors. Fortunately this tactic had little or no effect on a strong and resolute defence with Alex Low, Issac Assenso and Ashley Jackson winning everything in the air.
The Reds for their part got the ball down and played some attractive football which paid off in the 18th minute when Captain Martin Pembleton capitalised on a defensive error and found the net beating a hapless Callum Roberts in the visitors goal to take Ossett into a 1-0 lead.
For most of the second half the Reds maintained possession of the ball with the visitors having a 10 minute spell of attacking play just before half time. The half time whistle blew with Ossett walking in with a more than deserved 1-0 lead.
The second half kicked off with The Reds playing into a strong wind, this definitely favored their passing style of play and after a good phase of passing the ball Mackie collected the ball by the corner flag, cut inside and fired in a left foot cross finding Pembleton who saw his first time volley go over the bar from close range.
The Reds continued to pass the ball well with Corey Gregory and Jason Yates dominating play in centre midfield with Pemberton and Nicky Boshell a constant threat leading the line up front.
The Reds should have increased their lead half way through the second half as the ball dropped to Craig Nelthorpe 8 yards out with just the keeper to beat, however as he was about to shoot Mooney made a last minute tackle to deny a goal.
Minutes later Mackie again cut in from the right beating 2 defenders only to see his left foot shot go close but just over the bar from 18 yards.
Apart from a couple of efforts on goal from Tyler Rufus and Jack Lenehan late on in the game which were well saved by Leigh Overton, the home keeper had very little to do.
Ossett were causing the visitors constant problems down the wings and made the visitors pay in the 79th minute when Fabian Bailey and Mackie combined down the right before Bailey put in a high cross which found the head of Craig Nelthorpe at the far post whose looping header dropped in below the bar after Roberts the keeper had stumbled on the line increasing the Reds lead to 2-0.
The Reds managed the game in the last 10 minutes keeping the midfield four in a more defensive role to see the game out.
Final score: Ossett Town 2 Skelmersdale Utd 0
A positive performance from the Reds who fully deserved the win and have now taken a much needed 4 points from their last 2 games.
Next up is an away fixture to Glossop F.C. who are on a decent run of form losing only two of their last seven fixtures and who look particularly strong at home losing only one home fixture to Bamber Bridge during December and January.