Two see red as Skem make dread­ful start

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life - SKELMERSDALE UNITED .................. 0 LEEK TOWN........................................... 4

THE plans of Skelmersdale United man­ager Dave Pow­ell were in tat­ters af­ter just nine min­utes of the new sea­son as his team were 3-0 be­hind.

And they got worse be­fore they got bet­ter as they were re­duced to ten men af­ter 20 min­utes.

Af­ter­wards, Skem showed spirit to im­prove, although they even­tu­ally con­ceded an­other goal and had an­other man sent off, they can cer­tainly con­sider they were un­lucky not to score a cou­ple of goals in re­ply.

The Skelmersdale de­fence was all too stand­off­ish and square across the back early on and it cost them dearly.

Leek num­ber nine Tim Grice ran at the home de­fence af­ter about a minute, he drib­bled around four play­ers then laid the ball into the path of Niall Maguire who net­ted with a low shot from 12 yards.

In the fifth minute a long ball wasn’t dealt with prop­erly and the ball ran to away mid­fielder Dan Trick­ett-Smith who ran on as the de­fence backed off, he then put a low pow­er­ful shot into the cor­ner of the Skelmersdale goal from 20 yards.

Three min­utes later Skelmersdale goal­keeper Chris Cheetham made a dou­ble save from a Trick­ett-Smith free kick as Leek con­tin­ued to pile on the pres­sure.

In the ninth minute pos­ses­sion was lost mid­way in­side Skem’s half, Maguire pushed the ball through to Grice who was one on one with Cheetham and stroked the ball past him to make it 3-0.

Skelmersdale could eas­ily have col­lapsed there and then but to their credit they started to make some progress up the other end but were then dealt what can only be de­scribed as a killer blow in the 20th minute.

A long ball was headed on and Trick­ett-Smith ran to­wards goal, just out­side the penalty area, Cal­lum Woods stretched from be­hind the player and ap­peared to get a touch to the ball, Trick­ett-Smith went down and a free-kick was given.

Af­ter a pause ref­eree Michael Her­zog, who had been be­hind play, bran­dished a red card.

De­pend­ing on your view it was at least harsh or down­right wrong, espe­cially as an­other de­fender was along- side the Leek player as he fell. But it com­pletely ended any re­al­is­tic hopes of a Skem re­cov­ery.

Cheetham made an­other dou­ble save to keep out Trick­ett-Smith’s free kick.

Leek con­tin­ued to press and could have score again, but now Skem were coun­ter­at­tack­ing well and Leek goal­keeper Danny Roberts started to get busy - the keeper mak­ing an ex­cel­lent save from Con­nor Bel­ger’s 43rd minute left-foot shot.

The sec­ond-half saw Skelmersdale start well, with one player be­gin­ning to stand out for them, mid­fielder Paul En­nis who was in­volved in much of the pos­i­tive stuff from Dave Pow­ell’s side.

In the 53rd minute En­nis was at the heart of a qual­ity build-up, the ball was swung out to the right and then fed in­side to Jason Carey, his shot un­luck­ily hit the far post and bounced out to Bel­ger, some­how his ef­fort didn’t go in, ap­pear­ing to hit the same post then goal­keeper Roberts.

Leek were still hav­ing more of the pos­ses­sion but Skem were hold­ing out well plus threat­en­ing up front too.

How­ever on 63 min­utes Leek won a free-kick in the penalty area ‘D’. Up stepped Trick­ett-Smith and he showed ex­actly why Liver­pool had paid £300,000 for him a few years ago when he curled a beau­ti­fully weighted free-kick around the Skem wall to make it 4-0.

The fi­nal talk­ing point came on 81 min­utes and the rea­sons are still un­clear.

Quite out of the blue Bel­ger started shout­ing at the ref­eree and booted the ball into the stand; he was shown the red card.

Un­less ap­peals are made both Woods and Bel­ger will miss Skelmersdale’s FA Cup tie at Ash­ton Ath­letic next week.

Ul­ti­mately though, it was the slow start that caused an im­pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion and their fail­ure to deal with the outstanding Trick­ett-Smith that cost Skelmersdale.

John Driscoll

Ac­tion from Skelmersdale United against Ken­dal Town on Tues­day night and (inset) Kevin Edgar misses a penalty. Skem lost the match 1-0

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