SIX GOAL SUNSHINE ROMP FOR UNITED
OSSETT TOWN 0 SKELMERSDALE UNITED 6
By Neil Leatherbarrow
A devastating opening twenty minutes by Skelmersdale United put them on course for what in the end was a comfortable victory in the West Yorkshire sunshine. The result giving out notice that the Skelmersdale promotion bid is very much alive and kicking.
In the first few minutes, Josh Hine had a free-kick saved, Louis Corrigan saw a corner scrambled to safety and Tom Hardwick fired over the crossbar as Tommy Lawson’s men went in for an early kill. So it was kind of inevitable that a goal would follow and it did in the 9th minute. Kenny Strickland’s corner from the left dropping straight onto the head of Shaun Tuck, who made no mistake.
Play was one-way traffic and in the 16th minute it was 2-0, too. Strickland cleverly slotting the ball into space behind the home defence, Hine ran in and held off a strong attempt to stop him before smashing the ball into the far corner.
The sun had come out and Skelmersdale were responding with some “Sunshine Soccer”, their pace and movement leaving Town stunned. It was no shock when it became 3-0 in the twentieth minute. A clumsy tackle on Lewis Field brought a free-kick on the right, Strickland swung the ball in and Antony Hickey lost his marker, before guiding the ball inside the far-post.
The only remaining surprise before the interval was that the margin remained at only three. Strickland was completely flattened at the far post, but no penalty was given in the 36th minute, then after a sublime dummy by Field, Tuck fired over the crossbar, before Strickland met the ball with a thunderous drive that home keeper Ashley Connor did very well to save.
Ossett made two changes at the break, but the second-half still started very much like the first had ended. Hine saw a shot saved by Connor, Scott Rees Solicitors Man of the Match Martin Crowder hit a good shot wide, Strickland brought yet another great save from Connor and agonisingly Tuck couldn’t convert the rebound.
The ball was cleared off the home goal-line and flashed across the face of goal on a few occasions, before the fourth goal finally arrived in the 69th minute. Hine storming down the left, cutting inside then laying the ball off to strike partner Tuck, who flicked the ball past Connor from around five yards.
In the 76th minute Tuck set up Hine, the formers shot being saved by Connor, who despairingly had to watch Hine net the rebound.
Field got forward in the 82nd minute and after Hine set him up went close.
With only five minutes left on the clock Ossett were reduced to ten men after a wild tackle from Lee Garside, but it made little difference as it was already 5-0 to Skelmersdale.
Tuck fired a shot too high in the 88th minute and it looked like his hat-trick bid would fail. But that word is not in Shaun’s vocabulary at the moment and in added time, substitute Sean Williams put him in on goal and Tuck was able to complete his hat-trick and take his personal total for the season so far to 27.
After the game Skelmersdale manager Tommy Lawson said;” In the dressing room I stressed the importance of winning today, how could you ask for a better response, it could have been nine or ten.” Tommy’s comment was no exaggeration at all, as you will rarely see such a one sided game. The victory also gave a signal, Skelmersdale are traditionally strong at this time of year and you wouldn’t bet against them securing that play-off spot. They will certainly be looking to next Saturday when they host Trafford at the West Lancashire College Stadium.
OSSETT TOWN: Connor, Milne, Cook (Tonks, 45), White (Kelsey, 60), Haran (c), Laight, Claisse, McGuire (O’Brien, 45), Garside, Joynes, Richardson Subs (not used) Ryan, Scully
SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Ashton, Field, Corrigan, Hardwick (c), McIntosh, Strickland, Hickey (Duffy, 67), Evans, Hine, Tuck, Crowder (Williams, 71) Subs (not used) Rendell, Woolcott, Brocklehurst
Referee: David Plowright (Mansfield)