TOMMY LAWSON has paid tribute to Skelmersdale United's “special” supporters, after they ensured a memorable day for the club at Luton Town on Saturday.
Skem's stunning FA Trophy run was ended with a 2-0 defeat against the Blue Square Bet Premier giants at Kenilworth Road, but Lawson says there was enormous pride to be taken from a spirited performance, both on and off the field.
More than 300 supporters made the journey to Bedfordshire to cheer on their side, and Lawson was full of praise for those who took the trip.
“It was a fantastic day for the club, a wonderful occasion,” he said. “The only way I could describe it would be to say it was 'special'.
“The players did a fantastic job, and I'm proud of every one of them. But the supporters too, they made the occasion special. They were all put together behind the goal, and they didn't stop singing throughout. No question, they outshouted the Luton supporters with ease.
“They were waiting for us when we got back to Skem too, and clapped the team off the coach. That is class, and it is one of those moments that stays with you forever. The players were all talking about the fans on the journey back, and I know they are full of appreciation for all the support they've had.”
The game itself proved a heartbreaker. Skem competed for the entirety, and had chances to pull off an upset. But two goals on the counter attack in the final six minutes put paid to their dream.
“It was a tremendous show from the lads,” said Lawson. “We didn't turn up to defend, to put ten behind the ball. We play open, attacking football, and we felt that we could get at Luton and put them under pressure. I think we did that in spells.
“Tom Hardwick and Rob McIntosh were colossal for us. We will look back on the chance Warren Bellew had, which hit a defender on the line, right before their first goal, but we can't be anything other than proud. I think we earned a lot of respect from Luton Town.”
Lawson anticipates a “decent” windfall for the club, who are guaranteed a cut of the gate receipts from the match (the official attendance was 2,400), but says Skem's season is just getting started. They travel to face Harrogate Railway Athletic this weekend looking to consolidate their place among the Evo-Stik First Division North's frontrunners.
Lawson said: “Some teams lose in the Cup and that is the end of their season. Not us. Ours is just getting started.
“We've done so well this season, but there is so much still to come. The aim at the start of the year was promotion, and that won't change. We are in a great position, but we can't let up.
“Harrogate will be tough, but in some ways a nice away trip suits us this week. The lads will enjoy the coach journey and will all be buzzing with anticipation and stories from last week. And let's be honest, we don't fear anyone in this league.”