THE game at Kellamergh Park started out with an end to end look about it and Skelmersdale went a goal down after just eight minutes as a Luke Denson cross from the right was met with a powerful header from Fylde midfielder Bradley Barnes.
The reaction was instantaneous from Tommy Lawson’s men and only a last ditch interception from Fylde captain Matt Hughes prevented a cross from his Skelmersdale namesake Matty Hughes finding a Skem forward with the goal at his mercy.
Down the other end Fylde number seven Dave Hankin rode three challengers before shooting wide, then just to emphasise the balance of the game Skelmersdale’s Adam Morning had a shot saved by Fylde goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe.
Skelmersdale equalised in the 27th minute.
The ball was delivered to Morning on the left side of the home penalty area and after taking an extra touch he went to go around Fylde’s Hughes, but was felled. A penalty was awarded and Jack Laird stepped up to send Hinchliffe the wrong way.
In the quarter-hour before the interval Skelmersdale began to get on top, Morning was again denied by Fylde’s Hughes, before Matty Hughes and Dean Astbury both shot wide of the Fylde goal, though in between, Zac Hibbert saved a shot from Sean Cooke.
Having already lost central midfielder Alan Burton to injury midway through the first-half, Skelmersdale emerged for the second handicapped by the loss of striker Jack Laird. However, they wasted no time, straight from the kick-off Ashley Dunn stormed into the Fylde area from the right and blazed a shot across Hinchliffe into the far corner.
The game went back into see-saw mode. Astbury went close and Gareth Peet sent in a cross that created terror in the home defence, but Hibbert was busy at the other end. All this before Dunn hit the home crossbar with a header off a Hughes cross in the 64th minute.
Fylde levelled after 73 minutes, Adam Sumner netting with a scorching shot from 20 yards.
Two minutes later Skelmersdale were back in front with a typical Matty Hughes goal. Now playing a central role after Laird went off, Hughes weaved around the home defence and then unleashed a rocket of a shot from 12 yards that gave Hinchliffe no chance at all.
The rest was down to the Skelmersdale defence. Fylde huffed and puffed but led by Tom Hardwick and Peter Wylie at its heart the Skelmersdale house couldn’t be blown down. But victory had come at a cost on the injury front as both the influential Burton and marksman Laird would be unavailable for the trip to Worksop.
l AFC FYLDE: Hinchliffe, Denson, Sumner, Hughes Matt. ©, Eckersley, Hughes C. (Winter, 85), Hankin (Dorney, 69), Barnes, Blinkhorn, Carver (Gregory, 45), Cooke subs (not used) Booth, Chippendale
l SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Hibbert, Strickland, Ince, Hardwick ©, Wylie, Dunn, Hughes Matty, Burton (Peet, 22), Astbury, Laird (Greene, 45), Morning Subs (not used) O’Reilly, Holden, McIntosh
l Referee: P.Gibbons