Skem’s Tro­phy hopes hit by fine mar­gins

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Martin Mere - BY NEIL LEATHERBARROW

IN foot­ball there is a phrase that is of­ten used - ‘fine mar­gins’. It of­ten refers to sit­u­a­tions or in­ci­dents in a foot­ball match that can of­ten be piv­otal to the whole out­come of a game.

It is per­haps an ap­pro­pri­ate term to de­scribe the end­ing of Skelmers­dale’s FA Tro­phy hopes at a wet Seel Park on Saturday.

With 15 min­utes re­main­ing and 2-1 down, Skem were pil­ing the pres­sure on Moss­ley.

Then cen­tre-for­ward Andy Owens was de­nied an equaliser by a su­perb goalline clear­ance by Moss­ley, the ball then quickly found its way to the other end and Moss­ley went 3-1 up. Hence some fine mar­gins.

The match couldn’t have started bet­ter for Skelmers­dale who looked lively, Lewis Codling had a ninth minute shot saved by home goal­keeper Ol­lie Martin. Then Owens won a cor­ner on the left­hand side in the 11th minute.

Codling drove the ball into the near­post area, Moss­ley full-back Cal­don Hen­son jumped up for the ball, but only suc­ceeded in di­vert­ing it into his own goal, giv­ing Skem a 1-0 lead.

The first-half it­self was any­thing but a clas­sic but that suited the team that was lead­ing, es­pe­cially as Moss­ley were not gen­er­at­ing a great deal to worry about in at­tack. Skelmers­dale were in con­trol.

Ar­guably the main talk­ing point of the half was the rash of yel­low cards that was is­sued, and it would not be too wide of the mark to de­scribe ref­eree Mr Bruce as a lit­tle pedan­tic in what con­sti­tuted a yel­low card of­fence in a game that was mainly played in a good spirit.

Moss­ley were kick­ing down the Seel Park hill in the sec­ond-half and they soon caused Skelmers­dale prob­lems and equalised in the 51st minute. Liam El­lis played a cross field ball to an on the run Adam Latham who got be­hind the Skem de­fence, faced with goal­keeper Jack Sims clos­ing him down he played the ball across him and the ball rolled inside the far post.

With mo­men­tum be­hind them, five min­utes later Moss­ley struck again to grab the lead.

A free-kick was lofted into the penalty area, home num­ber five Tom Dean got up to head at goal, Sims saved but the ball ran to his right, El­lis pounced and forced the ball into the net.

Skelmers­dale al­most in­stantly lev­elled, a ball over the top found Owens clean in on goal, how­ever, as keeper Martin closed him down he played his shot, only to see it go ag­o­nis­ingly just wide.

Owens’ chance gave Skem con­fi­dence and they pushed Moss­ley back, one great op­por­tu­nity fell to sub­sti­tute Cal­lum Ma­honey, latch­ing onto a head on, he re­leased his shot early catch­ing Martin out but again the shot went wide, a goal was on the cards.

Skelmers­dale were well in the game and look­ing likely to score.

The vi­tal game de­cid­ing mo­ments ar­rived in the 75th minute.

Martin saved from a Skelmers­dale free-kick but the ball ran free, Owens leapt onto the ball and his ef­fort was going right into the mid­dle of the goal, a de­fender scram­bled back and it was su­perbly cleared.

Mo­ments later at the other end a Ma­son Duffy shot struck Sims’ far post and Danny McLaugh­lin had a sim­ple task of mak­ing it 3-1 to Moss­ley.

When you haven’t won a game since Au­gust 26 your con­fi­dence is bound to be frag­ile and with 15 min­utes left the goal killed Skelmers­dale off. Yes they con­tin­ued to push for­ward but it wasn’t with the same zeal that it had be­fore, Moss­ley were now able to smother Skem and solely rely on the coun­ter­at­tack, there was just no way back.

Skelmers­dale man­ager Dave Pow­ell brought on Be­van Burey and Kevin Cringle, it made no dif­fer­ence, lady luck “fine mar­gins” had been against Skelmers­dale, it could eas­ily have been 2-2 but 3-1 was too much to ask.

Skem goal­keeper Jack Sims looks to clear the dan­ger and (be­low) Cal­lum Jones wins a header Im­ages by John Driscoll

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