Superb Skem Fightback Denies Kidsgrove
Skelmersdale United 2 Kidsgrove Athletic 2
By Simon Driscoll
An afternoon not soon to be forgotten at Volair Park as United came from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 draw against Kidsgrove Athetic.
A stunning opener from Peter Williams on 36 minutes saw Adam Freeland double the lead on 53 minutes before two goals in nine minutes from Lewis Keegan and Sean Yeldrem's penalty saw United complete the comeback.The drama continued with referee Neil Evans stretchered off on 73 minutes before United ended with ten men after James O'Hara's late dismissal.
Paul McNally handed debuts to Liam Boden, Stephen Ferrigan and John Keatley in place of the unavailable trio of Terry Smith, Charlie Duke and Dimi Christou while Thomas Grimshaw was included in the squad after excelling in training. The visitors had the first chance of the afternoon as Anthony Malbon flicked on for Chris Budrys who drew a stop from Liam Boden on nine minutes.
Both sides suffered injury blows with 'Grove midfielder Thomas France stretchered off on 17 minutes before United top scorer William Dunne was replaced six minutes later having failed to overcome a head injury from the tenth minute.Grove midfielder Lee Williamson sent a free-kick past the post before Maldon forced a low save from Boden from close range.
Oliver Van Veen headed narrowly past the post after latching on Tom Molyneux's free-kick and the miss proved costly as 'Grove opened the scoring a few minutes later. A cleverly worked free-kick fooled the United defence leaving Peter Williams to thunder the ball past Boden from distance for 1-0 on 37 minutes.
United came close to levelling as Oliver Van Veen forced Dom Kurasik to tip his effort round the post after a through pass from Molyneux. The resulting corner saw Molyneux looking to find the top corner with a curling effort that Kurasik claimed. Grove went close to doubling the lead just before half time as substitute Rumenio found Williams who advanced on goal but could only draw a block from Boden with the shot. The second half began with substitute Will Saxon firing over the bar after Rumenio's lay-off.
A superb curled shot from Williamson saw a stunning save from Boden with the ball heading for the top corner. The visitors doubled their lead on 53 minutes as Adam Freeland headed past Boden for 2-0 after latching on to a long range free-kick. The goal saw Paul McNally bring on Louis Keegan to strengthen the defence which came close to leaking a third goal on 56 minutes as Malbon beat the offside trap only to be denied by a superb reaction from Boden.
United cut the gap on the hour mark with a quickly taken free-kick from Molyneux releasing Danny McLoughlin on the wing, he swept over a dangerous cross which evaded all chasers leaving substitute Louis Keegan to fire in at the far post for 2-1. Grove looked to regain their two goal advantage on 64 minutes but as Malbon put Williams in on goal, he was flagged for offside. Skem were gifted a chance to level on 69 minutes after Sean Yeldrem was felled in the area, he stepped up and confidently slotted the resulting penalty past Kurasik for 2-2.
Kidsgrove pushed to regain the lead with Rumenio blazing wide before clever play between Malbon and Saxon forced a stong block from the United defence. A bizarre incident on 73 minutes halted play, after dismissing appeals for handball by the Grove players, referee Neil Evans fell to the ground and had to be stretchered off the field.This led to a delay in resuming the game of around 10 minutes while a replacement official was sourced with local referee John White stepping in to run the line.
United came close to taking the lead as Dave Moore slotted narrowly past the post before suffering a blow at the other end with a second booking for James O'Hara leaving United with ten men. Kidsgrove came close to gifting United the lead on 87 minutes as a Kurasik clearance cannoned off McLoughlin, the open goal awaited the ball which bounced up with the line gaping and allowed 'Grove to clear.
The final whistle sounded bringing the game to a close at ten past five and closing an unforgettable afternoon that saw Paul McNally claiming his first point in charge and ending a five game losing run for United.
Skelmersdale United- Boden, Griffiths, O'Hara, Ferrigan, Keatley, Molyneux (c), Yeldrem, Dunne (Grimshaw 24), Van Veen (Keegan 53), Moore, McLoughlin (Banks 86). Subs not used- Webb, Black.
Kidsgrove Athletic - Kurasik, Thompson (Cropper 85), Morris, Williams, Freeland, Rhodes, France (Rumenio 17), Williamson, Budrys (Saxon 46), Malbon (c), Baker. Subs not used- Jepson, Bergin.
Referees- N. Evans/M.Hanson