Skem pull off a tale of the un­ex­pected

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Celebrations - BY NEIL LEATHERBARROW

IT had prob­a­bly been com­ing af­ter three con­sec­u­tive draws but Skelmers­dale United achieved their first vic­tory of the sea­son when ar­guably it was least ex­pected.

Hosts Rad­cliffe started Satur­day in top po­si­tion in Evo-Stik Divi­sion One West, Skelmers­dale started the day in bot­tom place, so any rea­son­able book­mak­ers would have made Skem long odds to win on the day, but Dave Pow­ell’s team not only won, they be­came coupon busters at the same time.

It was a hard fought but ul­ti­mately de­served vic­tory for Skem, ini­tially de­fend­ing solidly be­fore hit­ting the league lead­ers with a goal straight af­ter half-time and an­other in added time at the end, it was per­haps jus­tice af­ter they were so un­lucky not to break their duck in a 0-0 draw with Col­wyn Bay the pre­vi­ous Tues­day, as it was there was only one change to the Skem team, new sign­ing Luke Duffy re­plac­ing the in­jured Will Dunne.

Af­ter an early foray onto the at­tack by Skem, Rad­cliffe threat­ened in­side the first minute but Skelmers­dale goal­keeper Terry Smith beat away a shot from El­liot Rokka, Rad­cliffe next go­ing close on the quar­ter-hour when Ben Whar­ton headed fairly well wide from a right-wing cor­ner.

Rad­cliffe were hav­ing more of the pos­ses­sion but Skelmers­dale were mak­ing it clear they posed se­ri­ous in­tent up front.

On 21 min­utes home goal­keeper Ol­lie Martin made a good save low down from Kevin Edgar but soon Shel­ton Payne split the Skem de­fence apart with a su­perbly weighted ball, Ge­orge West rounded Smith but from an acute an­gle his shot was cleared off the line.

In the 20 min­utes be­fore half-time Rad­cliffe as­serted them­selves well.

Rick Smith and Whar­ton both bring­ing good saves out of Terry Smith, Whar­ton wast­ing an­other op­por­tu­nity, Skelmers­dale were show­ing some spir­ited de­fend­ing, block­ing shots and putting their bod­ies on the line when re­quired, they were to be re­warded, but were no doubt pleased to hear the whis­tle for the in­ter­val.

If they had had a bit of luck it was due af­ter go­ing so close in pre­vi­ous games.

Skelmers­dale stunned Rad­cliffe less than a minute af­ter the break.

Duffy played a ball through the home de­fence that left them stranded.

Sean Yel­drem cre­ated an an­gle from about 15 yards, dinked the ball over keeper Martin and it rolled just in­side the far post. It was a very con­fi­dent fin­ish.

The goal gave Skelmers­dale some for­ward mo­men­tum for a while and Alex Grif­fiths soon saw a shot turned around the near-post by Martin and Duffy also had a shot saved.

Skelmers­dale were now lim­it­ing Rad­cliffe to shots from dis­tance and even those at­tempts could be de­scribed as waste­ful.

Yel­drem was only de­nied by a mag­nif­i­cent last ditch tackle when he looked set to make it 2-0.

Rad­cliffe had a great chance eight min­utes from time, a free-kick was dropped at the far post but Matt Carr’s header was again poor and this was fol­lowed up by a Duke shot that curled just past the Rad­cliffe goal.

As added time ap­proached Edgar gave the hosts a warn­ing of what was to fol­low, a Skem coun­ter­at­tack re­sult­ing in an Edgar shot that had to be well saved by Martin.

When the ref­eree was rather gen­er­ous to Rad­cliffe with the added time given, five min­utes, it made no dif­fer­ence, Rad­cliffe had run out of ideas and cre­ated very lit­tle.

In the third minute of added time Skelmers­dale killed the game off.

Grif­fiths strolled for­ward and put a neat ball through to Edgar, this time his shot went un­der Martin, it was 2-0 and the Skelmers­dale sup­port­ers went into cel­e­bra­tion mode.

The win lifts Skelmers­dale up to 18th place in the ta­ble above Chase­town and Clitheroe.

They have picked up five points out of the last nine avail­able and that is a huge boost to their hopes.

In his af­ter match in­ter­view man­ager Dave Pow­ell was smil­ing, he said: “I am so proud of the lads, they have be­come tighter and tighter as a group and work­ing so hard for the club to de­liver re­sults.

“It is a plat­form that we can move on from, but it is im­por­tant that the lads re­alise that we have got to carry on work­ing and carry on ap­ply­ing our­selves and work­ing our way up the league.

“We must never think we can’t get bet­ter, that’s a key thing.”

Skelmers­dale are a very young team but in a way that is help­ing them at the mo­ment, they are play­ing some ex­cel­lent pass­ing, run­ning foot­ball.

It is no­tice­able they are be­com­ing more creative as con­fi­dence grows and now they have scored twice against a team that had only con­ceded five goals all sea­son go­ing into the match it can only lift them to bet­ter things. in pretty much ev­ery way,” the 27-year-old said af­ter be­ing doused in cham­pagne by his team-mates and even kissed on the fore­head by Rory McIl­roy.

“Be­ing part of team Europe from Mon­day to now has been the most in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. When peo­ple say you make friend­ships and bonds that last a life­time, you 100 per cent do, that’s not a word of a lie.

“I’m very lucky and blessed to be a part of this bunch of peo­ple, which is more than 12, 16 or 17 peo­ple.

“I think we had a lot of con­fi­dence in our­selves.

“We know how good the Amer­i­can team is, but we had a lot of con­fi­dence in our abil­ity and how we’d planned all this and Thomas (Bjorn, Euro­pean cap­tain) let us play and let us do our thing.

“He had a plan on day one and stuck to that even when things weren’t go­ing very well and we’ve just got a very, very good bunch of play­ers and it was our year.”

Kevin Edgar (right) in ac­tion for Skelmers­dale United John Driscoll

Tommy Fleet­wood

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