SKELMERSDALE UNITED 2 PADIHAM 1
By Neil Leatherbarrow
Skelmersdale United cleared their first hurdle in the FA Cup on Saturday when they overcame a hardworking and at times rather physical Padiham side at The Community Ground, to set up a home tie in the next round that will be something of local derby with either Prescot Cables or Ashton Athletic the visitors in the Preliminary Round on Saturday 20th August.
It is fair to say that Saturday’s East Lancashire based opponents are a difficult team to play against and it took Skelmersdale a while to get on top of them despite them being a division below Skem this season,
Paul McNally’s team began to get on top after around 20 minutes, Skem were doing well in wide positions mainly due to both full backs making some threatening runs and from one of these by Jack Hont Jordan Southworth went close for Skem.
However, when the opening goal arrived on 35 minutes it was right out of the route one song book. Skem goalkeeper Andy Coughlin cleared via a long ball, number nine Southworth headed it on and Elliott Morris was clean in at pace behind the Padiham defence, faced with advancing goalkeeper Matt Hamnett, Morris slotted the ball low past him into the net.
From then on the question was when would Skem get their second goal?
As with many conundrums that wasn’t the case. On 42 minutes on a rare attack Padiham played the ball to Joel Melia in the Skem penalty area, Baba Conteh put a bit of a clumsy challenge, Melia went down and a penalty was given, visiting captain Ben Hoskin stepping up to equalise.
Boosted by the goal Padiham gained confidence after the interval they put pressure on Skem, Joel Brownhill hit the Skem crossbar and it took some time before Skem steadied themselves.
Skelmersdale gradually resumed putting the pressure on Padiham. One shot went over the crossbar and Josh Nicholson saw his thunderous effort pushed away by keeper Hamnett who received applause for his action.
The game started for while to get a bit feisty and both teams saw yellow cards waved their way by referee Ashton Wroe.
On 70 minutes the Skem build up play finally gained due reward. The ball was played into the away penalty and Morris got his toe to the ball before keeper Hamnett who couldn’t help but upend Morris. The second penalty of the game was given and Morris got up off the floor to convert it and make it 2-1 to Skem.
Skelmersdale had opportunities to secure victory with a third goal, Jamie Nicholson and Morris among a number who threatened and in the end they almost paid the price.
The last few minutes and it seemed like there was plenty of added time, saw Padiham pouring men forward and at times even goalkeeper Hamnett was going up for corners, they did strike the woodwork and Coughlin made one excellent save low down from Luke Thompson.
It was a last desperate attempt from Padiham that had pushed Skem onto the back foot for a few minutes, but had they rescued a replay, Skem could have said they were unlucky, they had more of the possession, had more of the chances and overall were the better side on the day, it was decent cup tie though, those that weren’t there missed a good game.
SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Coughlin, Herbert, Hont, Grogan ©, Conteh, Strickland, Morris, Sheen (Nicholson Joe), Southworth (Nicholson Jamie, 85), Clair, Nicholson Josh (Mitchley, 62). Subs Brannigan, Dineley, Beckett
PADIHAM: Hamnett, Sherlock K., Bailey, Hoskin ©, Ayers, Thompson, Melia, Boland, Brownhill, Egan, Disney – Ridge (Gooden, 45) Subs Ludlow – Foster, Leigh, Sherlock D., Morton, Reynolds
Referee: Ashton Wroe