United Out-Dunn By Widnes
Skelmersdale United 0 Widnes 1
By Simon Driscoll
After the midweek abandonment away to Droylsden, United returned to action with a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Widnes. The crucial strike came from on-loan debutant Jack Dunn in the 34th minute.
A reunion of both staff and players for the two clubs with six of the Widnes 17 ex-United as well as co-managers Steve Akrigg and Kevin Towey while United assistants Stuart Humphries and James Standing also faced their former employers.
Dave Powell made one change from Tuesday night with recently signed Reece McNally included on the bench in place of Danny McLoughlin. The visitors tested Terry Smith inside the opening minutes as Jack Dunn drew a low stop after collecting Jay Roberts' lofted pass.
United replied with a lofted pass from Tom Molyneux putting Alex Griffiths in on goal, his angled shot being saved by Ryan Nield. Widnes nearly gifted United the lead after Dave Moore's cross was hit toward his own goal by Michael Grogan with Nield saving his defender's blushes.
Another run from Moore resulted in a shot which crept past the far post while at the other end, Conor Ready's angled cross needed just a touch at the back post from the onrushing Chris Lomax. A tale of two chances on 33 minutes as a Griffiths cross to the far post was not collected by Moore and at the other end, Jack Dunn capitalised on Phil Mooney's attempted clearance to advance on goal, round Smith and slot in for 1-0.
The second half opened with a similar mistake to the Widnes goal but in favour United, Nield's short clearance cannoned back off Luke Duffy but to the 'keepers relief, the ball crept past the far post. A long ball from Jack Fleming saw the bounce fool the Widnes defence and put Sean Yeldrem in on goal but he was to be denied by good reflexes by Nield.
A mistake in the United defence led to Smith turning into a sweeper-keeper which included a questionable challenge, he was left thanking his captain seconds later as Mooney headed Lomax's long range effort off the line. Molyneux tried his luck from distance before Dunn forced a superb diving stop from Smith at the other end.
Sean Myler fired narrowly past the target from distance while Moore drew a low stop from Nield after a clever run. United thought they had drawn level minutes later after a goal-line scramble but the officials signalled play on. The best chance to equalise came as substitute Dane McCormick collected a long pass and looped the ball over Nield but also hit past the post.
Widnes came close to wrapping up the win late on with Webster's low shot creeping past the post while United substitute Thomas Daulby drew a low save from Nield ahead of the final whistle.
Skelmersdale United - Smith, Duke, Fleming, Molyneux, Mooney (c), Christou, Moore, Griffiths (McCormick 80), Edgar, Duffy (Daulby 88), Yeldrem (McNally 65). Subs not used- O'Hara, Moloney.
Widnes- Nield, Roberts, Doran, Myler, Grogan, Burke (c), Ready (Pollard 71), Webster, Korie-Butler (Towey 78), Dunn, C Lomax (Hodkinson 63) Subs not used - Ventre, Johnstone.