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Skelmersdale 1-0 Rushall Olympic

Skelmersdale back on top of Premier Division

Skelmersdale United v Whitby Town in an earlier game

It would seem that you don’t get games full of flowing skills when Rushall are concerned.

But what you do get is a thorough testing of your fighting spirit.

So it is fair to say that Skelmersdale United manager Tommy Lawson will have been very pleased with this victory that puts Skelmersdale back on top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

His side showed real resolve in the face of the threat brought by a host of six foot plus, physically reliant forwards before in the end Skem won the game because they finished the stronger team in a fitness sense dominating the last twenty minutes and grabbing a late winner.

Rushall started powerfully, Ahmed Obeng shooting wide and Josh Craddock hitting the Skelmersdale crossbar in the opening six minutes, the latter from a headed down long ball.

Skelmersdale gradually got their passing game going and Adam Morning had a goal disallowed for offside and then saw his shot clawed away by Olympic goalkeeper Chris Gemmell, before after a clever slide-rule pass from Peter Wylie, Jack Laird was tackled as he looked poised to score.

Rushall have the ability to convert defence into attack with just one long clearance and after one such move Obeng hit the Skelmersdale crossbar with a header.

Before the interval Skelmersdale went close a couple of times, when a Tom Ince drive was headed out for a corner by Olympic then Gemmell saved from a Morning header.

After giving Skelmersdale an initial scare when the Bearing & Engineering Services Man of the Match Ryan McMahon saved from Obeng, the pressure thrown into the Skelmersdale area by Rushall got less and Skelmersdale started to get the upper hand, mainly with some well-built attacks on the floor.

One such attack bringing a swerving run Morning that saw a right-foot shot curl just wide. More and more Rushall were forced onto the defensive.

Matty Hughes was causing the visitors no end of problems down the right and the introduction of fresh legs in the form of Dean Astbury and Shaun Tuck up front made things even more difficult for the tiring visitors.

Chances were few, but it was Skelmersdale who got the breakthrough in the 87th minute.

The ball was worked into the Olympic area from the right, the fleet-footed Ince lost his marker, away captain Gavin Caines desperately tried to block his goalbound shot and the ball deflected past Gemmell into the net.

The game was one of completely contrasting styles, Skelmersdale are not a particularly big side and are known for the quality of their football, Rushall are a big side and are known for their direct playing system, and in that sense it was a victory for the purest over the strongman.

SKELMERSDALE UNITED: McMahon, Wylie, Peet, Hardwick ©, Burton, Dunn, Hughes, Strickland, Laird (Tuck, 83), Ince, Morning (Astbury, 78) Subs (not used) O’Reilly, Flood, Hibbert

RUSHALL OLYMPIC: Gemmell, Turner, Martin, Tolley (Daniel, 72), Duggan, Palmer, Dacres, Adebola (Ramsey- Dickson, 66), Obeng, Craddock Subs (not used) Wood, Spink, Mugisha

Referee: Chris Isherwood

Attendance: 201

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