Shootout Exit For United
SKELMERSDALE UNITED 3 TRAFFORD 3
(Trafford won 4-2 on penalties)
By Simon Driscoll
After Saturday's defeat at Shawe View, United welcomed Trafford for the second meeting between the sides in a matter of days, this time a place in the next round of the Integro League Cup was at stake.
A few changes from the weekend saw Terry Smith return from illness and Sean Yeldrem promoted from the bench after his late goal at Shawe View. Phil Mooney and Calum Woods returned to the starting 11 after on-loan duo Tyler Brownsword and Kyle Hawley returned to parent club Morecambe.
The visitors almost made a perfect start as a through pass from Declan Rydings put Joe Thompson in on goal but despite rounding Terry Smith, he could only slot the ball past the far post. United's first chance came from a Tom Molyneux free-kick which David Moore headed at Matt Cooper.
A reverse from the opening minutes, Thompson found Rydings who drew a strong Smith save from the edge of the area before Trafford opened the scoring on 25 minutes. Thompson collected a short pass from Rydings before dummying and slotting past Smith for 1-0.
The lead could have been doubled as early as the 29th minute as Matty Crothers' lofted shot forced a fingertip save from Smith over the crossbar. Calum Woods sent a shot over the bar for Skem before United levelled just before half-time. Will Dunne all but repeating last week's stunning free-kick as he curled the ball over the wall and into Cooper's top corner for 1-1.
United started the second half brightly with Kevin Edgar advancing on goal and drawing a near post stop from Cooper and the save was important as Trafford regained the lead on 50 minuted as Crothers tucking a prnalty kick past the diving Smith for 2-1. Skem came close to a rapid equaliser as Edgar's long-range free-kick forced Cooper to tip the shot over the bar before the Trafford captain parried a similar effort from Dunne minutes later.
Great pressure on the far side led to United levelling at 2-2, Edgar gaining posession before suppying Sean Yeldrem who slotted past Cooper for the second game in a row against his former club. Trafford were denied a third lead on 75 minutes by the goalpost as Lee Wilshaw's angled header cannoned back off the upright and minutes later a teasing cross from substitute Aaron Burns beat all comers before being cleared on the far side.
A clever run into the box from Molyneux saw him hot over the crossbar before Thompson forced a stunning point-blank save from Smith at the other end. As added time grew near, United looked to be dealt a killing blow as Chris Palmer's cross was headed home by Mark Derbyshire for 3-2.
Recent performances at home have seen United battle on when going behind and this was no different as with the final whistle looming, United levelled at 3-3. Substitute Alex Griffiths created space before rocketing the ball past Cooper and into the top corner to the amazement of all in attendance. The final whistle sounded seconds later leaving the tie to be decided in a penalty shootout.
Tom Molyneux got United off the mark before Aaron Burns slotted in for 1-1. However, misses from Mike Roddy and Dave Moore for Skem coupled with success for Chris Palmer and Matty Crothers put Trafford in control at 3-1. Will Dunne cut the gap to 3-2 but to no avail as Joseph Thompson sealed a 4-2 win for the visitors.
Skelmersdale United- Smith, Galloway, Fleming (Duke, 74), Molyneux, Mooney ©, Roddy, Yeldrem (McCormick, 90 + 3), Woods (Griffiths, 54), Edgar, Dunne, Moore Subs (not used) McLoughlin, Moloney.
Trafford - Cooper (c), Woodcock, Palmer, Taylor, Mahoney, Wilshaw, Harris, Davidson (Burns 61), Thompson, Crothers, Rydings (Derbyshire 61). Subs not used- Gibson, Mostyn.
Referee: Steven Lennon