FA Vase dreams are shattered for Skem & Linnets
THE road to Wembley for our local clubs via the FA Vase for 2020/21 ended before it really started as both fell at the first hurdle on Saturday.
Skelmersdale United lost 2-1 at home to Stockport Town, Burscough repeating their earlier FA Cup exit by losing out on penalties after a 1-1 draw, this time over in Sheffield at Hallam.
There was a healthy turnout on a sunny afternoon at the JMO Sports Park in expectation that Skelmersdale could continue their FA Cup form in the FA Vase, and even when Skem went behind in the ninth minute there seemed no need to worry, as Skem have recovered from behind in both their FA Cup victories.
The goal came after Skelmersdale defender Daniel Murphy didn’t deal very well with a long ball onto the 18 yard line and the ball fell to Aaron Knight who slotted home.
The Skem recovery looked promising, a Murphy free-kick on the quarter-hour gave Joe Herbert a free header but his effort went too high plus the hosts were having more of the possession.
However, Skem suffered a big blow on 24 minutes when what is best described as a nasty challenge by Stockport full-back Zydane McCarthyBrooks put influential Skem midfielder Josh Peet out of the game.
Although Skelmersdale continued to press without Peet they weren’t opening the Stockport defence up as well as before his exit. Both teams had opportunities as the clock ticked towards half-time.
A Skelmersdale corner on the left was hoisted to the far post, Mike Grogan got his head on the end of it but Stockport goalkeeper Morgan Piper turned the ball away low at the far post. Then Skem goalkeeper Ben Barnes made a good save from a 25 yarder. Before in added time Alex
Davies made an enterprising run down the right that culminated in a Lloyd Ellams shot that was again saved by Piper.
Skelmersdale in recent times have done well in the second-half of games and there was no reason to think that they wouldn’t here, especially as six minutes in top goal scorer Emini Adegnero was introduced as substitute and was soon followed by Richard Brodie.
However on 54 minutes it became a far tougher task for Skem who were caught out by a breakaway, the creative Knight slipped the ball through the Skem backline to Lee Grimshaw who finished clinically, to make the score 2-0 to Stockport.
Stockport now had a solid cushion and could fall even further back onto the defensive and make it more difficult for Skem.
Skem replied though. Herbert
had a header saved by Piper, who made yet another save from a thunderous Murphy free-kick, the young keeper completing a quick hat-trick by thwarting Grogan who put in an excellent shot.
Adegnero had a great chance on 69 minutes, a Davies ball was headed on and behind the Stockport defence, his half volley went wide of the far post.
The latter stages became quite exciting and when pulled back a well deserved goal for Skem on 86 minutes Stockport did begin to wobble.
Tempers became raised and yellow cards were waved before Brodie received a red one for an incident on the halfway line.
Still Skem pressed but it was not to be for Paul McNally’s side. In many ways the flow of the game had gone Stockport’s way, they had come out to smother Skem’s football and it worked.
The early goal meant Skem had to attack and in fairness Stockport defended very well before catching them with the counterattack second goal that was the difference between the teams.
Over in South Yorkshire, Burscough had taken the lead on 40 minutes at Hallam, Josh
Quarless lobbing the ball over the advancing home goalkeeper to give the Linnets a lead that on balance of play they deserved.
Burscough’s cause was severly hindered ten minutes into the second-half when experienced central midfielder Kevin Pollard was dismissed after an altercation with Hallam’s Chris Wood followed by a number of players from both teams receiving yellow cards.
On the hour Hallam levelled. A poor Burscough clearance was headed into the path of Kieran Watson, who ran on and slotted into the net.
Hallam had more of the possession afterwards against a now ten man Burscough, but the Linnets maintained their organisation and held on fairly well for the rest of the game.
The competition rules because of Covid resulted in the match going to penalties straight after the 90 minutes and Burscough missed two, the last being saved by home goalkeeper Sam Andrew.
Ironically in very similar fashion to the Linnets FA Cup exit, also on penalties after a 1-1 draw away from home.
Saturday is the next round of the FA Vase and because both Skelmersdale and Burscough are out of the competition, they don’t have a scheduled game, so watch their respective websites for a friendly fixture being arranged.