SKELMERSDALE United’s FA Cup run ended in frustration at the 2inspire Park on Saturday in a game that can only be described as surreal.
Skelmersdale entered the game defending a run of only one defeat in their last 22 games and having won all the seven games they have played this season.
Skelmersdale had more of the possession and more of the chances, yet still lost by a margin that on the face of it looks comprehensive.
In the opening ten minutes Skelmersdale went close to scoring four times, Louis Corrigan, Mark Jackson and Antony Hickey having efforts saved or go just wide and home defender Martin Sparkes added to that by hitting his own crossbar with his goalkeeper beaten all ends up.
The eleventh minute brought the turning point, a rash challenge by Rob McIntosh bringing down Albion’s Josh Barrett for a penalty on his sides first
serious attack, leaving Steve Jeff to give Tadcaster the lead.
In the 22nd minute home keeper Scott Pallister made a great save from a Hickey header and launched the ball straight down the park, where Callum Ward riddled clear of his marker and blasted the ball into the Skelmersdale net.
It was a dream start for Albion, play had centred around their penalty area, yet they were 2-0 up.
When Skelmersdale pulled a goal back in the 27th minute, from a United viewpoint there was no need to panic, Hickey’s cross being squared back across the box by Warren Bellew to give Josh Hine the opening.
Tadcaster were now defending solidly and although chances were limited it just looked a question of time. Skelmersdale’s best attempt before the break was a McIntosh header that brought a spectacular tip over the crossbar from Pallister.
The second-half started with another fine save by Pallister, keeping out a powerful left-foot shot from Hickey. However disaster soon followed, a short goal-kick was taken and the player it was aimed for obviously didn’t expect the ball, turned his back and home striker Ward read the situation, to make it 3-1 to Tadcaster.
Back came Skelmersdale. Hine was forced wide and couldn’t keep the ball under the bar after getting away from the home defence, then Tom Hardwick put a header fractionally wide of an unguarded post from Corrigan’s corner.
In the 64th minute Tadcaster’s coup d’état was complete. Sam Ashton could only parry a Terry Taylor free-kick and the ball ran straight to Ward, who was never going to miss.
Skelmersdale to their credit kept going to the end and Paul Woolcott ran himself into the ground, but it just wasn’t going to be their day.
After the match Skelmersdale manager Tommy Lawson said: “Firstly, good luck to Tadcaster. They had one chance and took it well, we gave them the others, my most reliable players, too.
“We have now lost twice in twenty two games; I don’t think there is too much to worry about.”
It was just one of those days that happen in football and Tommy Lawson is right not to dwell on it.
l Tadcaster Albion: Pallister, Binns, Jeff, Kamara (Creek, 77), Sparkes, Qualter (c), Thompson, Taylor, Ward (Gray, 85), Rice, Barrett (Owen, 72). Subs (not used) Leader, Morton
l Skem United: Ashton, Field, Corrigan (Rendell, 72), Hardwick (c), McIntosh, Strickland, Hickey, Woolcott, Jackson (Evans, 59), Bellew (Peet, 56). Subs (not used) Burke, Wright, Birchall, Paxton
l Referee: Elton Martin (Middlesbrough)
l Attendance: 170