Skelmersdale United produced another thrilling performance in Saturdays FA Cup encounter with Lancaster City, a team two divisions higher, it was the equivalent of Accrington Stanley beating Spurs.
Without supporters, due to WLBC Restrictions and torrential rain throughout the afternoon it was a surreal experience watching what was arguably United’s biggest game for over 5 years.
In a cagey opening both sides had attempts on goal but neither keeper being tested fully. The deadlock was broken after 36 minutes when United gained a corner, Callum Preston swung the ball into the box, the ball evaded everyone as Michael Grogan stooped to put the ball past a stricken former United keeper Sam Ashton for a 1-0 lead.
Lancaster came at Skem showing their quality of a team who finished last season strongly but United held firm, Peet, Grogan and Grimshaw doing excellent jobs in midfield to stem the tide.
United expected an onslaught in the second half, Lancaster boast players who have played in the Championship, forwards Norris for Ipswich and Blinkhorn for Blackpool and it took just two minutes for them to draw level, youngster Bailey finding space in the box to drive home.
United are made of sterner stuff these days and did not wilt, in fact the goal spurred the players on.
An inspired substitution on 66 minutes saw the introduction of young Gabriel Ellis, his first touch was to receive the ball out wide on the right, beating his defender he homed in on goal and when Ashton went down to early Gabe coolly slotted into the back of the net, he had been on the field for less than 20 seconds.
United sat deeper as the game entered the final minutes and could have wrapped the game up right at the death, a corner for City, saw keeper Sam Ashton come up, the ball was claimed by Ben Barnes and a quick release found Adegbenro in acres of space to charge at goal, with the opposition keeper nowhere in sight, he was crudely brought down just as he was about to strike at goal, Higham the defender was shown a straight red. There was just enough time for the free kick before the ref blew signalling a great giant killing act as United move on to the 3rd Qualifying Round.
Despite the long history of the club, this is only the 3rd time that the club have won 4 games in the FA Cup, back in 2005-06, in 1968-69 where they reached the first round proper and 1923-24 when they lost to Rochdale. The draw for the next round takes place on Monday afternoon.