HONOURS EVEN AT SKEM
SKELMERSDALE UNITED 1 TRAFFORD 1
By Neil Leatherbarrow
Two teams took to the field for the second league game of the season with a point to prove, both teams are expecting to be among the better outfits in Evo-Stik Division One North this season, both teams had lost on Saturday so both needed to do better and both teams knew this wasn’t going to be an easy game. As it was, both teams went out to win but didn’t quite do enough, both teams missed chances and both teams showed that they were strong defensively. So in the end it was perhaps appropriate that both the goals and both teams got a point at the final whistle.
The opening encounters were cautious before the game came to life in the 14th minute. Conor Smith an industrious midfielder who signed from AFC Liverpool in the summer lifted the ball over the Trafford defence, Andy Owens shrugged off his marker then fired at goal from an angle, but his shot went just wide of the far post. Two minutes later former Skem left-back Louis Corrigan got forward and hoisted the ball to the far post Jack Dorney headed it back across the face of the home goal, where Michael Vaughan-Muscat sent it over his own crossbar for a corner before the Trafford strikers could reach it.
The resultant corner was sent in from the left, it was only partially cleared and fell around twenty yards from goal, Trafford number six Paul Linwood met it with a low powerful first time shot that went through a forest of legs into the bottom corner, leaving home goalkeeper Jack Sims stranded, though it wasn’t his fault because he probably didn’t see it due to the bodies in his way. Skelmersdale had slightly more of the possession for the rest of the first-half, pushing Trafford back.
In the 24th minute and Owens free-kick was only half cleared but Bevan Burey’s follow up went wide. Owens was creating problems for Trafford and in the five minutes before half-time he went close twice. A shot on the turn went over the crossbar then a powerful drive was just about dealt with by Trafford goalkeeper Grant Shenton.
In the 47th minute a Danny Ventre cross found the roof of the Trafford net, from the goal-kick Jason Jefferies headed the ball back and Owens latched onto it, again he lost his marker and went one on one with keeper Shenton, Owens low shot going inside the keeper’s right-hand post to level matters up. Trafford made changes and started to press more and Sims saved at his near-post from Dorney, the former Chorley and Fylde winger cutting in from the left. Vaughan-Muscat is a spirited player and he went close for Skem on 65 minutes a diving header from a corner bringing a good reaction save from Shenton.
Both teams became careful that that didn’t lose and the latter stages saw two teams that were arguably a bit less adventurous. Even so Owens put in a shot that Shenton found too hot to handle only to see the rebound cleared and at the other end Trafford right-back Alastair Brown put a dangerous looking effort wide of the far post after a tidy build-up. Finally in added time Dorney went down in the Skelmersdale penalty area and appealed for a penalty, it was perfectly correctly waved away by the referee and would have been a complete injustice. It would have been a dishonourable penalty in a game that brought an honourable draw.
SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Sims, Jefferies ((Gillespie, 57,) Bradshaw, 74), Roberts, Vaughan-Muscat, Jones, Ventre, Burey, Smith, Owens, Brodie, Crane Subs (not used) Holmes, Randell
TRAFFORD: Shenton, Brown, Corrigan, Loukola (Woods, 66), Mason, Linwood (O’Brien, 63), Palmer, Sephton, Dean, Rydings, Dorney Subs (not used) Williams, Yeldrem, Ahmadi
Referee: Daniel Issawi Attendance 152