DESPITE starting a day after everyone else and having several players unavailable, Tommy Lawson’s Skelmersdale United achieved a vital three point start to the new Evo-Stik Division One North season at Belle Vue.
Lawson had been boosted by the unexpected return of defender Rob McIntosh from injury.
Impressive home goalkeeper Danny Trueman was called into action in the 10th minute, bravely punching clear as United striker Josh Hine looked a cert to head home after a long ball from Tony Rendell.
In the 34th minute there was action at both ends. Initially, Harrop put Lee Turner away down the right, but the latter’s dangerous ball across the face of goal was cleared by Lewis Field, on the counterattack it was Field who ran almost the whole length of the pitch before keeper Trueman ended his dream run.
There was one real scare for Skelmersdale in the 43rd minute. Goalkeeper Sam Ashton pulling off a magnificent reaction save to keep out Josh Grant, this after Turner had been allowed too much room.
Ashton made another good save in the 54th minute standing his ground to deny Tom Marsden. However, this was the signal for Skelmersdale to get going. Two minutes later from a right-wing corner by Warren Bellew, Tony Rendell got up and crashed home a header from six yards after Field had cleverly won the corner.
On the hour it was almost two, Hine beat the home offside trap and chipped to the far post, Bellew’s header hitting the crossbar.
Skelmersdale now looked the better side. Kenny Strickland put a shot wide and Field had a header stopped on the line after substitute Gary Burnett set him up.
It was debutant Burnett who sealed the game up in the 86th minute. Joe Evans put the ball down the middle, the young striker ran in to challenge keeper Trueman, Burnett lifted the ball, Trueman went scurrying back to his goal, but the well judged chipped ball beat him into the net, to make it 2-0.
SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Ashton, Field, Hardwick (c), McIntosh, Rendell, Strickland, Hickey, Evans, Jackson, Hine (Burnett, 69), Bellew (Peet, 69) Subs (not used): Simpson, Stoker, Paxton