Clitheroe 0-1 Skelmersdale United
Skelmersdale United produced a battling performance on Saturday to defeat high flying Clitheroe 1-0, a performance of epic proportions were Skem not only battled a rampant home side but rain, wind and sleet of biblical proportions that threatened the very existence of the game on a numerous of occasions.
The Shawbridge ground perched high on the edge of the Pennine Hills was Obscured by clouds for the majority of the game and with howling winds, that in the first half kept Skem very much on the back foot. Sam Ashton’s kicking barely reached the half way line & a headed clearance from youngster Harry Hagen was taken out for a corner such was the ferocity of the wind.
It was no surprise that the hosts had the majority of chances, Sefton Gonzales bringing out a top class save from Ashton, with the follow up rattling the post. Joe Herbert was on hand to clear of the line as United produced a rear-guard action of the highest quality.
On a rare foray forward Elliott Morris was upended on the edge of the box, Matty Hamilton’s free kick found Sam Sheen who’s header looped back over the goal and Morris was there to nod home from 2 yards to give Skem the lead on the half hour.
During the interval a storm of epic proportions of hail rain sleet and strong winds engulfed the ground, putting the game in some doubt.
Clitheroe are a good side and pressed United at the start of the second half with plenty of chances, but Centre backs Herbert & Lees stood firm, ably supported by the hard working Djalo and Gerrard in the middle and with Sam Ashton in impressive form between the sticks they could find no way through.
With 10 minutes to go Callum Lees made a clumsy tackle in the middle of the park and with the partisan home crowd baying for blood the referee duly obliged and sent the centre back off with a straight red. United were down to 10.
With the hailstones hammering down and Clitheroe throwing the kitchen sink looking for a leveller Sam Ashton came to United’s rescue with a double save from Gonzales and Pugh and Hagen cleared off the line from Obasoto.
With the clock ticking down United suffered a further blow, inspirational skipper Sam Sheen collided with the advertising hoardings and played no further part, United were down to 9, a full 9 minutes of injury time was added but the brave boys of Skem held firm, Herbert, Sheen & Hagen were all outstanding but Man of the Match went to the veteran keeper Ashton who’s telling saves kept United in the game.
Richard Brodie was delighted with the team’s performance “Today we asked for men and everyone of them players today stood up to the plate, I’m delighted for them, it wasn’t the best, we were ugly, horrible, scrappy, sometimes you have to do that in football.”
United- Ashton, Preston, Hagen, Herbert, Lees, Gerrard, Morris, Sheen, Milne, Hamilton, Djalo. Subs: McCarthy, O’Brien, Mcloughlin. Not used: Prescott, Gallagher