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FA Vase dreams are shat­tered for Skem & Lin­nets

- BY NEIL LEATHERBAR­ROW Sports · FA Cup · Soccer · Wembley · Skelmersdale United F.C. · Northampton Town F.C. · Sheffield · Skelmersdale · Stockport · South Yorkshire · Sheffield F.C. · Ben Barnes · Chris Wood

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.

 ?? John Driscoll ?? Skem in ac­tion against Stock­port Town and (be­low cen­tre) a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion
John Driscoll Skem in ac­tion against Stock­port Town and (be­low cen­tre) a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion
 ?? Lucy Bell ?? Burscough tak­ing on Hal­lam
Lucy Bell Burscough tak­ing on Hal­lam
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