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Skelmersdale stalemate

FC United drew nil-nil at top of the table Skelmersdale United on Tuesday night in a tight game that could have gone either way as both sides had chances to win it but in a roundabout way; a draw was a fair result.

United’s keeper Sam Ashton was back at his best and was arguably man of the match, pulling off a number of fine saves to keep the hosts out. But despite Ashton being called into action more regularly than his opposite, United had plenty of chances of their own and could have easily nicked a vital victory but neither team could break the deadlock.

Both sides had penalty appeals turned down in the second half as the match referee, who came on as a substitute at half time, seemed determined to avoid any controversy.

It was the Reds who started more brightly, taking the game to the league leaders. Jamie Baguley, who has been enjoying a good run in the team recently, nearly got on the score sheet for the third time in just over a week. After some patient build up play, Rory Patterson exchanged passes with Chris Baguley and the youngster hit an inviting cross into the box for his older brother. Baguley Senior got there but with Skelmersdale keeper Ryan McMahon rooted to the spot, his effort flashed wide of the post.

United continued to press forward but the hosts were always on hand to shut them out and launch attacks of their own. Ashton did well holding on to a Steven Akrigg free-kick in the 17th minute and the hosts wasted a number of good opportunities.

The United backline put in a reasonably solid performance but they were exposed on a couple of occasions. One such time came with a break down the left which resulted in a goal mouth scramble. Ashton blocked Paul Prescott’s shot and Chris Almond blazed the rebound over the bar when it looked easier to score.

The best effort of the half fell to Aaron Turner who found some space before unleashing a powerful shot but Ashton was again equal to it. At the other end, Patterson had a shot cleared off the line by Akrigg when a goal looked almost certain.

Skelmersdale got stronger throughout the game as United seemed to tire slightly. The hosts had a penalty appeal turned down in the 78th minute when Sean McConville went down under a challenge from Liam Foster after trading passes with Kyle Wilson. Foster was again in the thick of the action as he headed a goal bound effort off the line minutes later.

But United could have had a penalty of their own when Wright, who caused Skem problems all night, appeared to be bundled over by two defenders inside the box.

There was also a welcome return in a red shirt for Dave Swarbrick with 15 minutes to go but the man from Barrow couldn’t unlock Skelmersdale’s solid defence.

Patterson could have stolen the game too in the dying minutes when McMahon paid attention to the linesman’s flag rather than the referee’s whistle and laid the ball down for an off-side decision that hadn’t been awarded. Quick thinking Patterson nipped in and drove the ball goalwards but McMahon made amends for his error with a brave save.

A scramble ensured for the resulting corner and when the ball broke free it fell to Rob Nugent but the big centre-back could only blaze his effort high over the bar. FC United will come away with their heads held high but they need to get back to winning ways on Thursday at Ossett Albion if they are to mount a serious push for the title.

FC United
S Ashton
L Foster
B Howard
C Baguley
D Chadwick (capt)
R Nugent
J Baguley
S Carden
S Rudd
J Wright
R Patterson
Subs
N Robinson (for 9 89)

D Swarbrick (for 4 76)
S Roscoe

Scorer:

Skelmersdale United
R McMahon
S Foster
T Hardwick
S Akrigg
M White (capt)
M O’Donnell
A Birchall
A Turner
P Prescott
A Murt
C Almond
Subs
S McConville (for 8 63)

K Wilson (for 10 57)
M Duffy (for 4 59)

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First Posted ~ 11:03 Thu 3 Apr 2008
News ID ~ 1587
Last Updated ~ 17:14 Fri 11 Oct 2013