SKELMERSDALE UNITED 0 SPENNYMOOR TOWN 2
TOP PERFORMANCE FROM SKELMERSDALE
By Neil Leatherbarrow
You had to feel sorry for the Skelmersdale United youngsters after this one, Spennymoor are looking a solid bet to finish second in the Evo-Stik Premier Division and had to win on the night, so weren’t taking any prisoners, but for long spells Skem matched them and given some luck might well have pulled off a shock. The opening Spennymoor goal came via a wild deflection and their goalkeeper had a far from a quiet night, but still Alan Rogers side had nothing to show at the end, despite a top performance from his team.
After the match a very upbeat Rogers commented: “They are flying, they are on a really good run, and I feel we have matched them tonight. Steve Irwin could have had a hat-trick, we have had chances, they have too, but I think a neutral watching that tonight wouldn’t think Skelmersdale are going to be relegated and Spennymoor are going to be promoted and are a million miles apart, I don’t think you could have told the difference. And that is a credit to the lads.
We are down to bare bones, we have a couple on the bench who are not fit to play really, but the lads have put a shift in. Spennymoor are a good team full of experienced old heads, we have a gang of eighteen and nineteen year olds, the young keeper Joe (Hilton) is only seventeen years old; I thought he had a smashing game. This will stand them in good stead for their future careers.”
Both teams had early free-kicks, Mark Anderson’s for the visitors was fended away by a solid Skelmersdale defensive wall, Max Allen’s for Skem went just over the crossbar. The game was played at a good tempo with action at both ends, with both defences holding the upper hand. It was noticeable early on that Spennymoor were not going to have the easy passage the respective league positions predicted they would.
Allen, Nathan Randell and Phil Mooney all had efforts for Skem in a close first-half, while for Spennymoor Anderson probably went closest his flick to a Graeme Armstrong shot just going past the post. At half-time it was difficult to say who had been the better team.
Spennymoor came out after the restart all guns blazing, it would have been a major setback to their hopes if they had dropped points at Skem and soon goalkeeper Hilton made a top-class reaction save from a close range Jamie Chandler effort after a scramble in the box.
Spennymoor scored in the 48th minute and it had more than an element of good fortune about it. Chris Mason’s corner from the right found Anderson at the far post and his shot appears to have been going wide of the far post, however, it hit a Skelmersdale defender and went inside the near post. Immediately Skelmersdale sought to strike back and Irwin’s shot was saved well at the near-post by Spennymoor goalkeeper Daniel Lowson.
Spennymoor continued to press, but still Skelmersdale limited them to very few opportunities, Armstrong put a header over the bar and Jamie Curtis headed wide from a corner, but Skelmersdale were hanging in there. In the last quarter-hour you could see Spennymoor were worried and their managerial bench was getting very animated they hadn’t got the vital second goal and Skelmersdale were finishing strongly. Irwin had one shot saved and another deflected wide, before a Steve Gillespie cross caused a serious threat until Lowson intervened.
It was a much a breakaway as anything else that finished off Skelmersdale and that was only in the 88th minute. Glen Taylor firing in a low curling shot for the goal from 18 yards out.
Skelmersdale have got a trip to lower mid-table Coalville on Saturday, then entertain Marine in the “M58 Derby” on Monday afternoon, before a final home game against Stafford Rangers on Saturday 22nd April, I wouldn’t mind betting on this form they will win at least one of them.
SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Hilton, Grogan, McNally, Dobie, Vaughan-Muscat, Mooney ©, Howarth, Irwin, Randell (Bradshaw, 83), Gillespie, Allen (Burey, 59) Sub (not used) Jefferies
SPENNYMOOR: Lowson, Griffiths, Mason ©, Chandler, Baldwin, Curtis, Ramshaw, Henry (Mitchell, 51), Taylor, Armstrong (Dowson, 81), Anderson (Johnson, 77) Subs (not used) Tait, Fisher
Referee: Andrew Sykes Attendance: 212