SKELMERSDALE United manager Tommy Lawson clearly knew that his sides trip to West Yorkshire was going to be a tough one and he responded by putting out a strong team at the Ingfield ground.
In the early stages Skelmersdale went for Ossett and in the end it was a measure that proved crucial to the game’s outcome. Paul Woolcott had an early shot deflected for a corner then Adam Morning brought a save out of Town goalkeeper Matt Convey, before Warren Bellew put a shot wide.
In the 12th minute Skelmersdale struck. Town captain James Cotterill smuggled the ball away for a corner, Kenny Strickland lifted the kick to the far post, Rob McIntosh sneaked in and headed the ball downwards and it was heading for just inside the far post before Mark Jackson got a touch and made sure.
Ossett came close to levelling a couple of minutes later, Danny Patterson heading over the crossbar from a free-kick.
The game developed into a midfield struggle, but United had the edge and Gary Burnett and Morning always looked threatening.
Ossett came out after the restart looking to grab something from the game and Mark Whitehouse curled a free-kick wide of the Skelmersdale goal. But the more Ossett tried to chase an equaliser the more Skelmersdale looked likely to score themselves and three times before the end Skelmersdale efforts were cleared off the Ossett goal line.
An Antony Hickey cross was only partially cleared and a Woolcott thunderbolt hit a defender, then Burnett flicked the ball past Convey and it was hacked clear, before Josh Hine suffered the same fate.
There was one last twist in the game. With a minute remaining a bad bounce on the rough surface gave Town’s James Booker a great chance, but Skelmersdale keeper Sam Ashton pulled off a terrific near-post save.
It had been a game that was fiercely contested from start to finish, with Skelmersdale always holding the technical edge and looking the more likely to score. The outcome leaves Skelmersdale nine points clear at the top of the table, but that was mainly thanks to the team’s ability to adapt to circumstances and its organised defence.
OSSETT TOWN: Convey, Lloyd, Whitehouse (Milne, 83), Patterson, Cotterill (c), Qualter, Booker, Sharry, Eyles, Darley (Stewart, 53), Hannity (Thornton, 77). Subs (not used) Parkinson, Hudson.
SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Ashton, Field, Bellew, Hardwick (c), McIntosh, Strickland, Hickey, Woolcott, Jackson, Burnett (Hine, 80), Morning (Phenix, 82). Subs (not used) Hughes, Wright, Evans.
Referee: Mark Griffiths (Doncaster)