A LATE charge by Tommy Lawson’s Skelmersdale United, saw his team retain the only 100 per cent record in the Evo-Stik League.
They achieved a victory that looked highly unlikely and owed much to the team spirit the side appears to possess - fighting back from 1-0 and 2-1 down before hitting the winner in added on time.
The first-half was a cautious affair, with few good goalscoring opportunities.
Defences held the upper hand over a pair of forward lines that could be said to have lacked the will to take a risk.
Curzon were dangerous off dead ball situations, centre-back Andy Watson getting into the box and causing problems. For Skelmersdale Josh Hine and Kenny Strickland put in a couple of shots that were either wide or dealt with fairly comfortably by Curzon goalkeeper Josh Ollerenshaw.
Matters changed completely in the 53rd minute, although at the time it didn’t look good for Skelmersdale.
A quickly taken throw-in on the left caught out United, Scott Metcalfe squared the ball low into the penalty area and Curzon’s Kristian Dennis showed exactly why he is the Evo-Stik League’s top scorer this season with a first-time missile of a shot past Sam Ashton.
Inside three minutes Skelmersdale levelled and the goal was spectacular. The ball dropping to Mark Jackson 30 yards from goal and as it bounced Jackson sent a vicious half-volley over Ollerenshaw.
Curzon counterattacked in the 61st minute, Jonathan Hunt split the United defence and although Ashton left his line to close Dennis down, the striker slotted the ball under his dive to restore his sides lead.
Skelmersdale had to push forward and leave gaps at the back. Warren Bellew hit the Curzon crossbar, then at the other end Ashton made a superb near-post save from Dennis, probably earning himself the Messenger Express man of the match award with that one action.
Jackson brought a terrific save from Ollerenshaw in the 79th minute as Skelmersdale built-up the pressure and the ball went for a corner.
Adam Morning fired in from the flag and Rob McIntosh headed home from the centre of the six yard box.
At 2-2 it was all up for grabs again. Louis Corrigan had a shot blocked wide, while Curzon were now relying on the counterattack to relieve the pressure that Skelmersdale were increasing.
The game went into added time and the day was consigned to being a draw. With over three minutes extra-time gone the ball was slipped down the Skelmersdale right-wing, Hine set off in pursuit, cut inside and drove a powerful shot low past Ollerenshaw to send the Skelmersdale players and support into raptures as Hine disappeared under a pile of Skelmersdale players that included goalkeeper Sam Ashton.
A dour game turned into a thriller and arguably it was Skelmersdale’s team spirit that saw them through.
Tommy Lawson said after the game: “We looked a little leggy for a while and I can only put that down to the efforts the players made during the week, but we are a very focused team and we fought back superbly.”
The Skelmersdale run goes on and now they have won eight on the run. It will be put to the test at home to another promotion chasing team on Tuesday as New Mills visit the West Lancashire College Stadium, before Lawson’s heroes get something of a break with an FA Trophy tie on Saturday at Witton Albion.
l Skelmersdale United: Ashton, Field, Corrigan, Hardwick (c), McIntosh, Strickland, Hickey (Saleh, 84), Woolcott, Jackson (Burnett, 89), Hine, Bellew (Morning, 74) Subs (not used) Rendell, Wright.
l Curzon Ashton: Ollerenshaw, Woodford, Hampson, Hunt, Watson, Lakeland, Purcell (Nightingale, 74), Walker (c), Evans, Dennis, Metcalfe (Blackshaw, 61) Subs (not used) Neequaye, Summerskill, Bowyer.
l Referee: John Dowd (Wirral)
l Attendance: 215