By Neil Leatherbarrow


In a first ever meeting in the FA Vase with the side from Westhoughton, Skelmersdale needed just the one goal to put them through to the next round of the FA Vase and keep them on the route to Wembley.

The goal arrived just ninety seconds after the interval and wasn’t seen by one of two spectators in what was a close competitive game at the Community Ground.

A look at the team sheet showed that manager Matt Potter had made some changes to the Skem team; two new full-backs were included but perhaps more significantly was the return of experienced goalkeeper Ben Barnes, who was something of a cult hero with the Skelmersdale support before he departed for twelve months with City of Liverpool.

It took some time for Skelmersdale to settle down with the new personnel and some positional changes too, in the sixth minute they could have lost captain Lee McConchie who put in a clumsy challenge and the visitors vociferously asked for a red card, but referee Mr Santos-Munn made the correct decision in issuing a yellow card, McConchie didn’t have his feet high and on that basis didn’t deserve a red card.

As second moment of worry came when the visitors appealed loudly for a handball in the home penalty area on the quarter-hour, but their calls were waved away.

Skelmersdale started to settle down and on 18 minutes went very close to scoring, Mark Bollongino brought a good parried save out of Daisy Hill goalkeeper Morgan Newns but the ball went loose, Luke Byron latched onto it and hit the crossbar, no goal but the incident did seem to give the hosts confidence.

The game started to tighten up as the teams got the measure of each other, the nearest to a goal coming on 41 minutes when a powerful snap header from Harvey Roberts was saved by keeper Barnes.

The game turned moments into the second-half, Bollongino got hold of the ball on the right and cut inside, just inside the penalty area he put a skimming shot across Newns into the far corner of the net to give Skem the lead.

On 54 minutes it was almost 2-0, Joel Ogiugo produced a nice bit of skill to put Bollongino in again, but credit to keeper Newns who left his line very quickly to snub the chance out.

Just a minute later Daisy Hill went close a Carlton Norford header bringing a great reaction save from Barnes, followed two minutes later by a low diving save by Barnes from Karl Farrell.

The game fell into a pattern in the last half hour or so, Skelmersdale defending well and counterattacking as Daisy Hill pushed for an equaliser, with Barnes vocally doing a great job of organising the defence in front of him.

On 75 minutes Skem actually had the best chance of the latter stages, defender Joe Blanchard went on a solo run, beating the Daisy Hill offside trap but only a great save from Newns prevented a memorable second goal.

The game became bad tempered in the last ten minutes and referee Munn did well to keep his red card in his pocket until deep into added time when he had no choice other than to dismiss Daisy Hill’s James Phillips for a second yellow, however arguably the game was all over by then.


SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Barnes, Fagan, Fry, Sessay, Blanchard, Lancaster, Knowles, McConchie ©, Bollongino, Byron, Ogiugo Subs Caldwell, Green J., Preece, Ward, Denton


DAISY HILL: Newns, Hallows, Phillips, Roberts, Makelele, Singleton ©, Howarth, Hughes, Talbot, Oliver, Norford Subs Ngongo, Farrell, Grant, Glendon. Hardman. Brown, Woodcock


Referee: Isaac Santos-Munn


Attendance: 84

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