Honours Even Against Newcastle
Skelmersdale United 0 Newcastle Town 0
By Simon Driscoll
After penalty heartbreak against Trafford in midweek, United resumed their Evo-Stik West campaign with a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle Town.
Dave Powell handed a debut to Dimitrios Christou in defence after the club finally received his International clearance while Alex Griffiths came in for Calum Woods who moved to the bench.
United raced out of the blocks with Jack Fleming evading several challenges before rifling a shot which forced a stunning save from Matt Johnson. Fleming turned provider as he lofted the ball forward to Kevin Edgar who headed on for Alex Griffiths, the midfielder only able to fire over the crossbar.
Newcastle's first chance came in the 10th minute with Rod Orland-Young sweeping a free-kick narrowly past the far post before he slotted a shot past the post from a Town counter-attack minutes later. United replied Sean Yeldrem cutting a pass to Edgar who forced a strong stop from Johnson.
An angled run from Griffiths saw him fire towards goal beating Johnson but also the post, Chris Smith's cross at the other end saw Terry Smith claiming comfortably after the half-hour mark. Newcastle continued to pressure Smith as he collected a curling effort from Michael Conlon.
Will Dunne's long range effort at the other end left Johnson frozen to the spot as the shot beat him but also narrowly missed the outside of the post. The second half began with Luke Steele testing Smith from range with Tom Molyneux firing over the bar at the other end.
The visitors went achingly close to breaking the deadlock on 50 minutes as Smith's low cross was flicked past the post from close range and he turned provider again as he picked out Orland Young who hit past the near post. A long back pass from Dimitrios Christou looked to have put United under pressure but an exquisite 'Cruyff-Turn' from Smith saw him quell the danger. United had the ball in the net just before the hour after Molyneux's cross saw Griffiths tap in. However, the effort was chalked off as Griffiths had impeded Johnson in the build-up.
After a clever clearance from Smith, Yeldrem advanced on goal but with the mix of pace and the angle cut only curl the ball wide of the post. United tried their luck again as Dunne headed across goal from a lofted Jay Galloway cross before a superb diving save from Johnson denied Edgar a few minutes later. Sam Bradbury's superb aerial pass put Smith on the run and he forced a diving save from Terry Smith with a low angled shot. Substitute Charlie Duke cut inside before supplying Dunne and the young midfielder forced a strong stop from Johnson on 76 minutes.
Newcastle suffered a blow on 83 minutes as substitute Jonny Kapend was dismissed after an altercation with Fleming and United looked to use the advantage with both Edgar and Christou hitting efforts past the post. Dave Moore headed past the post from a Yeldrem cross before the final whistle saw United bring an end to their losing run with a point that could have been three given the array of chances.
Skelmersdale United - Smith, Galloway (McLoughlin 90), Fleming, Molyneux, Mooney (c), Christou, Yeldrem, Griffiths (Duke 74), Edgar, Dunne, Moore. Subs not used - McCormick, Woods, Moloney.
Newcastle Town - Johnson, Bradbury, Stubbs, Steele, Lowe (c), Dennis, Conlon, Van der Laan (Ward 77), Smith, Attreil, Orland-Young (Kapend 63), Subs not used- Fraser.
Referee- Alex Jones
Att - 96