United Lose Out To Colls
By Simon Driscoll
Skelmersdale United 0 Atherton Collieries 3
United's battle to avoid relegation continues despite a 3-0 loss at home to league leaders Atherton Collieries. Strikes either side of half-time from Jordan Cover and Thomas Bentham were followed late on by a penalty by ex-United defender Gareth Peet.
Paul McNally handed a debut to Peter Moretti in defence with young midfielder Jesse Dowling included on the bench after debuting earlier in the season while Anthony Cato and John Keatley missed out after injury/suspension in the last game at Colne.
Both sides started brightly in the scorching weather with United going close to the first shot on target in the seventh minute as Henoc Mukendi flicked the ball past the near post.At the other end, Ben Hardcastle sent a shot wide of the target after a rapid Colls attack.
The visitors broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with a pacy run from Hardcastle allowing him to pick out Jordan Cover who fired an angled shot past Ryan Kirkman for 1-0. United replied with Matthew Scoullar slotting past the far post after clever play from Alex Griffiths before Mukendi found the arms of 'keeper Greg Hartley with a shot from distance.
A nice one-two between Liam Wood and Joel Douglas saw the former cross low for Sean Yeldrem whose near post flick on was cleared by the Colls defence. The second half began with Colls firing over the bar before doubling their lead on 52 minutes. Hardcastle evaded challenges before seeing a shot blocked by the United defence which fell to Tom Bentham who slotted in for 2-0.
The visitors threatened further with Connor Hughes sending a shot wide of the goal before Bentham connected to a Daniel Lambert cross to force a superb save from Kirkman who tipped the ball against the post.
United's 'keeper was called on again to deny substitute Conor Gaul from close range before denting an otherwise good performance in conceding a late penalty, he felled Hardcastle after the Colls attacker had sashayed through the home defence. Ex-United defender Gareth Peet sent Kirkman the wrong way from the spot as he slotted in for 3-0.
The final whistle sounded with Colls celebrating the win as they confirmed a play-off spot while despite the loss, United's fight against the drop continues after Kendal failed to better the result.
Skelmersdale United - Kirkman, Moretti (Povoa 80), Griffiths, Molyneux (c), Lent, Tyrer, Yeldrem (McLoughlin 80), Scoullar, Douglas (Dowling 73), Wood, Mukendi. Subs not used- Samson, Lewis.
Atherton Collieries- Hartley, Smith (Grimshaw 33), Peet, Lambert, Lafferty (c), Rowlands, Hardcastle, Bailey, Bentham, Cover (Roberts 57), Hughes (Gaul 73). Subs not used- Kirby, Sherlock.