SKEM 2-4 SGA: Positive experiment for pre-season opener

Skelmersdale United kicked off their pre-season with a spirited defeat against the Steven Gerrard Academy.

In cool conditions at the Community Stadium, a Blueboys side made almost entirely of trialists took the game to their experienced opponents, taking a 2-1 lead into half-time before falling short in the final 15 minutes. Manager Tommy Lawson, in his first game since returning to the club, handed 17-year-old winger Tom Smith the captain’s armband as he looked to see an experimental line-up gel.

After eight minutes, SGA had taken the lead when a cross from the left saw the SGA striker plant a header high into the roof of the net, and it looked like SGA might be on their way. Although Skem played some nice football down the wings,  the experience and gritty play of SGA was starting to show as tackles were made in the middle of the park.

Not to let this get to them, Skem got on the scoresheet a little after twenty minutes. A long ball down the left side was chased onto and crossed in for Skem’s striker to sweep a high first time finish.

This seemed to kick Skem up a notch, and despite their inexperience, took the lead ten minutes later. Skem’s striker, who had looked menacing with speed and movement, was left completely unmarked at a corner to nod into the top corner and carry Skem into a half-time lead.

Lawson rang the changes as he sought to find the components to his squad for the forthcoming season,  however, just eight minutes into the second half, SGA won a corner and a quick shift by their striker to the near post saw his header fly into the net.

Skem responded with some decent play and looked to the wings for results, playing some ambitious high balls that was troubling a SGA defence lacking in serious height. The final ball seemed to elude them until a 25 yard short forced the SGA keeper into action.

But SGA turned the screw, and had a striker of their own causing headaches with his runs; SGA utilising this several times that tested Joe Langford in the Skem goal. Eventually the pressure paid when some decent build up play from midfield allowed the SGA striker to lay a ball off 25 yards out and the SGA midfielder hit a lovely first-time shot past Longdale.

There were moments when a fourth goal looked likely from SGA, and they forced Langford into some first-class saves, the highlight of which was a flying fingertip save to turn the ball onto his post and away from danger.

But in control and with just seconds remaining of the game, the dangerous SGA striker broke away down the right, got into the box and squared it for his strike partner to finish and put the game beyond Skem.

The Blueboys continue their squad building with a friendly against Burscough on Saturday 6th July at the Community Stadium, Bobby Langton Way, Burscough. Kick off 2pm.

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