An exciting 90 minutes at the Berry Street Garage Stadium saw Skelmersdale United edged out 2-1 by NPL North West side City of Liverpool in the FA Cup Preliminary Round.
Three changes from the midweek victory saw Jack Grimshaw, Marvin Molyneux and Charlie Kelly come in for Richard Brodie, Matthew Scoullar and Joel Douglas.
The two sides cancelled each other out in the early stages with the first real chance of the afternoon proving to be vital as the hosts opened the scoring on nine minutes. Liam Dawson dispossessed Patrick Hamid and found the run of Tom Peterson who in advancing on goal, drew a strong parry from Ben Barnes, though he was left helpless to prevent Jack Hazelhurst from heading into the net via the post for 1-0.
United responded with Marvin Molyneux's flick on from a corner being blocked before Hazelhurst headed into the hands of Barnes after collecting a Francis Foy cross. The Purps forward tries his luck again minutes later as he drew a low save from Barnes after a combination of a few flicks and collecting a Peterson pass.
Minutes later, Peter Moore picked out Peterson who let fly on the volley but saw his effort sail over the target but the forward went closer to scoring on 23 minutes as he raced towards goal and saw a certain goal denied with the ball cannoning back off the post after beating Barnes.
Clever play from Liam Wood saw him pick out Joe Cawley and his low turn and cross saw Matt Johnson save low. Peterson and Barnes resumed their duel with the 'keeper parrying an angled effort from the forward. Wood tried his luck at the other end with a curling effort from the edge of the area which found the grasp of Johnson.
On the half hour, Peterson supplied John McGrath who looped an effort over the bar before resuming his duel with Barnes, drawing a save from a low shot. United threatened at the other end with John Keatley, Hamid and Wood all forcing stops from Johnson. The hosts continued to pepper the United goal with Moore and Dawson drawing stops from Barnes as the game reached the interval.
United began the second half brightly with a cross from Wood seeing Tom Croughan hit at goal, his effort was superly blocked ahead of the line by Anthony Brown. The Purps had the ball in the net for a second time minutes later but were denied with Peterson being in an offside position while slotting past Barnes.
A great chance to level at the other end saw Keatley dragging a shot past the post before Wood collected a long pass and advanced on goal but to his woe, could only fire over the target.United thought they had levelled on the hour, Joe Cawley slotting in past Johnson after connecting to Molyneux's free-kick, but the goal was chalked off for offside. They did level just four minutes later and spectacularly, substitute Matt Coughlan guiding a long range free-kick past Johnson with pinpoint precision for 1-1.
The hosts should have retaken the lead on 78 minutes as a first touch off the bench from Elliot Nevitt saw him find Moore who headed over the goal from mere yards. United 's threat saw Coughlan fire over from range before Cawley hit past the near post. The tie looked to be heading for a reply as time ticked over the 90 minutes but the hosts had other ideas, Hazelhurst collecting a long pass and cutting inside to curl a superb shot which sailed over Barnes and into the top corner for 2-1.
United should have levelled in added time with Coughlan's lofted pass finding captain Jordan Tyrer in great space but with the goal at this mercy, he could only send the ball achingly over the bar. The final chance of the afternoon went even closer with Nevitt's run seeing him left with an almost open goal which saw him slot past the post. The final whistle sounding minutes later saw the Purps celebrate and United left to reflect on an exit but one which should have been a replay at the very least.
City of Liverpool- Johnson, Denson (c), Foy, Moore, Dalton, Brown, Roberts, Dawson (Clair 52), Peterson (Nevitt 77), Hazelhurst, McGrath (Kearney 61). Subs not used- McDonnel, Marshall.
Skelmersdale United- Barnes, J.Grimshaw, Griffiths, Molyneux, Tyrer (c), Hamid, Wood, Croughan, Keatley, Cawley, Kelly (Coughlan 42). Subs not used - Scoullar, McCormick, Djabi, Soda, Cookson.