After the epic midweek FA Cup victory, Skelmersdale United returned to league duties with a 2-0 loss away to Northwich Victoria. Paul McNally made one enforced change from Wednesday as he handed a debut to newly signed Tom Croughan in place of Marvin Molyneux (Unavailable) while fellow new signings Christan Soda and Charlie Kelly were named on the bench.
United started brightly with a run from Joe Cawley seeing him cross and force a tipping save from Daniel Taberner with Tom Croughan slotting past the far post. Vics response saw Matthew Clarke collect a corner to force a save from Ben Barnes from the edge of the area.
An effort high and wide from Robert Doran for the hosts was followed by a John Keatley free-kick which curled achingly over the bar. Vics came close to opening the scoring on 17 minutes as a dangerous cross from Joseph Camozzi avoided all comers including Tom Kilifin who needed a slight touch as he was challenged by the United defence.
Vics threatened further with Kilifin picking out Jamie Reed who fired a powerful shot past the target before Jack Grimshaw tested Taberner at the other end to good effect. Substitute Joel Brownhill looked to test Barnes from distance with a lofted shot after collecting a clever pass but his chance not only beat Barnes but the goalframe itself.
The final chance of the half proved to be on of the best with former United player Eddie Toner collecting the ball and teeing up Ryan Winder, he found Kilifin who drew a strong stop from Barnes as the sides went into the interval on level terms at 0-0.
The second half saw both Kilifin and Croughan try their luck with chances before Vics opened the scoring on 55 minutes, Kilifin finding Brownhill who advanced on goal and hit across goal beating Barnes as the ball found the far corner for 1-0.
The hosts could have doubled the lead rapidly with Comozzi and Brownhill combining with the latter heading over the bar but it was to be a warning of things to come for United as Vic went 2-0 up before the hour mark. Brownhill's powerful shot cannoning back off the palms of Barnes with Kilifin simply collecting and hitting into the empty net.
Vics 'keeper Taberner kept their two-goal lead as he prevented a superb effort from Croughan before Alex Griffiths and substitute Charlie Kelly tested him to good effect. However, the hosts continued to threaten with Keiron Kenny meeting a free-kick to test Barnes who save superbly before an absolute stunning fingertip stop to deny Kilifin a second goal late on.
An afternoon where both goalkeepers shone saw Taberner have the final say as he denied United a consolation as Kelly struck from distance. The final whistle sounded and though it saw a first defeat of the season for United, it was one in which they played their part and could have claimed a point.
Northwich Victoria- Taberner, Camozzi (c), Fleming, Winder, Kenny, Barski, Reed, Clarke (Henry 75), Doran (Brownhill 19), Kilifin, Toner (Grundy 83). Subs not used- Wilson, Hinchcliffe.
Skelmersdale United -Barnes, Scoullar (McCormick 60), Griffiths, Keatley, Tyrer (c), Hamid, Coughlan, J.Grimshaw, Croughan, Cawley (Kelly 62), Douglas (Wood 52). Subs not used- Soda, Cookson.