TOMMY LAWSON believes in-form Josh Hine is benefiting from Skelmersdale United’s creative talents as they continued their unbeaten start to the new season.
Hine followed up his hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Ossett Albion (see match report page 66) with another goal to clinch a 2-0 success at Ramsbottom United on Tuesday evening. The centre-forward now has five for the campaign.
Having lost the prolific Shaun Tuck and the highly-rated Chris Almond in the summer, Skem have needed someone to step up to the plate in terms of goalscoring.
Lawson, however, believes that any striker would thrive on the service his side provides.
“I believe it is a privileged position, to play centre-forward for Skem United,” he said.
“If you look back over the years, we have always had somebody scoring goals week in week out. Tony Evans, George Donnelly, Chris Almond, Shaun Tuck.
“We are a side that creates chances for its strikers, and we let them use their own talent and ability to finish them off. Josh has been doing that of late, and long may it continue.”
Goals in the latter stages of each half gave Skelmersdale the victory over a Ramsbottom side that had been unbeaten in 12 games immediately prior to the visit of Lawson’s men.
The hard-earned success lifted the West Lancashire College Stadium side into top spot in the Evo-Stik Division One North. It was their fifth win from their opening five games and third on the road.
It was no surprise that the hosts carried the game to Skelmersdale from the off, an Anthony Johnson header from a Phil Dean cross dropping wide of the goal after just 90 seconds.
After Ramsbottom’s whirlwind start, Skelmersdale settled well, with Lewis Field doing a good job in snubbing out any more dangerous crosses from home left-winger Dean.
The first-half was played at a remarkable pace with play swaying from end to end, the crowd were transfixed.
Hine was kept out on the half-hour by Grant Shenton after Field and Antony Hickey combined to create an opening. Then a Warren Bellew free-kick was scrambled over his own crossbar by Ramsbottom defender Andrew Dawson.
Skelmersdale always appeared to have a slight edge and they grabbed the advantage thanks to a sublime free-kick and a clinical header just as the interval whistle beckoned. Bellew the supplier, Rob McIntosh the finisher, as he towered at the far post.
It was a tight affair after the break but in the end the home team were forced to concede the game in the 89th minute. Latching onto a long ball, Hine twisted past his marker, stormed 30 yards before blasting the ball home to wrap up the points.
Skem are in FA Cup action this weekend as they welcome Lawson former club Clitheroe to the West Lancashire College Stadium on Saturday. The manager will be collecting August’s Manager of the Month award prior to kick-off.
He said: “I managed Clitheroe of course, and I enjoyed my time there. There are some great people at that club, and I think the new manager (Paul Moores) will do a great job there.
“We’ll treat them with the respect they deserve, but hopefully we will get a good result.”