Colls Cruise Past Suffering Skem
By Simon Driscoll
Atherton Collieries 9 (Nine) Skelmersdale United 1
After a mixed start to the season, Skelmersdale United's hopes of a new beginning in September were dashed as they suffered a 9-1 demolition at Atherton Collieries.
Paul Ennis put United ahead seven minutes in before strikes from former United defender Ian Rowlands, Ben Hardcastle and a brace from Jordan Cover made it 4-1 at the interval. Rowlands added his second before Cover completed his hat-trick for 6-1 after the hour and a late treble from Hardcastle saw him reach four which included two penalties after Terry Smith's dismissal.
Dave Powell welcomed back the trio of Tyler Brownsword, James Galloway and David Moore back from injury while Sean Yeldrem made his first start for the club. United started the brighter of the two sides with Sean Yeldrem forcing a stop from Morgan Bacon from close range before the Colls' keeper tipped Alex Griffiths' effort past the post.
The resulting corner saw United open the scoring as after a front post clearance, Tom Molyneux found Paul Ennis who slotted into the far corner for 1-0. United came close to extending the lead as Bacon denied Yeldrem from close range before he saved a curling effort from Kevin Edgar and lofted chance from Griffiths.
Despite their domination in front of goal, United were pegged back on 24 minutes as a panicked clearance from Jack McConville led to a defensive scramble which saw Ben Hardcastle capitalise to fire past Terry Smith for 1-1.
The hosts completed the turnaround on 28 minutes from a corner as Vincent Bailey found former United team-mate Ian Rowlands free at the far post who headed in for 2-1. United's response was an effort headed over the bar by Ennis but they were to fall further behind on 38 minutes as Hardcastle picked out Jordan Cover who slotted in for 3-1.
Disaster for United just before half-time as a horror backpass from Molyneux put Cover through on goal who rounded Smith and tapped into an empty net for 4-1.
Any hopes of a United comeback were ended before the hour mark as a clever move from Gareth Peet saw him pick out Matthew Grimshaw who squared for Rowlands to score his second for 5-1.
Atherton made it 6-1 with 64 minutes on the watch as Peet raced down the wing before cutting back to Hardcastle, his shot was blocked by a combination of Smith and the defence with the ball falling nicely for Cover to complete his hat-trick.
The hosts pushed to extend their lead with Hardcastle hitting a shot past the post before Cover curled a chance over the bar. United's only real chance to stem the hosts' spree saw Charles Duke firing wide after a clever run.
United's woes were far from over as they endured a nightmare final eight minutes, Terry Smith was dismissed having collided with Cover after fumbling a cross and substitute Jack Fleming took over between the sticks. His first challenge was a penalty from Hardcastle which cannoned off one post and in off the other for 7-1.
The ten men fell 8-1 behind as a superb strike from Hardcastle on 88 minutes completed his hat-trick after a lay-off from Cover. Colls had the chance to reach nine with a last-gasp penalty after Peet was upended and up stepped Hardcastle to fire past Fleming for 9-1. A miserable afternoon for United after a bright start saw the final whistle leave them rock bottom of the league standings.
Atherton Collieries - Bacon, Sherlock, G.Peet, Lambert (J Peet 67), Rowlands, Grimshaw, Hardcastle, Bailey (c), Cover, Conway (Sigsworth 60), Gaul (Matthews 60). Subs not used- Golden, Lafferty.
Skelmersdale United - Smith, Duke, McConville, Molyneux, Mooney (c), Brownsword, Griffiths (Fleming 75), Dunne, Edgar, Yeldrem (Woods 69), Ennis (Moore 60). Subs not used - Galloway.
Referee- J Sheppard
Att - 199