SKELMERSDALE United produced another of their strong finales to leave a hardworking Frickley Athletic side slumped to their knees at the West Lancashire College Stadium.
To find a leader for the recovery they haven’t had to look far, as Saturday’s two goal hero Kevin Leadbetter lives just around the corner from the ground.
Kevin started his career with Skelmersdale and has gone on to play Conference Premier, Conference North and has won a sideboard full of medals, but he is certainly enjoying life back with his local club.
Frickley from the Yorkshire mining town of South Elmsall have had to work hard to retain their place in the Evo-Stik Premier over the years and started showing plenty of the grit that is a hallmark of their play, making things difficult for Skelmersdale from the start.
The nearest Skelmersdale went to scoring in the early stages was a shot from Kenny Strickland that was pushed around the post by Frickley goalkeeper Tom Woodhead and a Joe Holt effort that went over the crossbar. However, it was the Yorkshire that struck first blood, not once but twice.
Big striker Gavin Allot lost his marker in the 30th minute for the opener, running onto a James Ghaichem free-kick and heading past Skelmersdale goalkeeper Zac Hibbert.
Two minutes later Allott did it again, this time displaying almost twinkle toe skills to cut in from the corner of the penalty area, around two Skelmersdale defenders before slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net, to make it 2-0.
Skelmersdale were not surprisingly stunned and only a magnificent save from Hibbert in the 41st minute kept it a very steep hill that Skelmersdale had to climb instead of a mountain.
Luke Hinsley squared the ball across the home penalty area to present Allott with a shooting chance that ended with Hibbert flicking the ball onto the crossbar.
Five minutes into the second-half Skelmersdale reached platform one of their ascendency.
Alan Burton put Holt away behind the Frickley defence and he was felled by a clumsy challenge from Jake Picton.
Leadbetter grabbed the ball and fired home the spot-kick.
Skelmersdale took control for the rest of the game, but Frickley like most Yorkshiremen are not known for giving away anything that they have worked for.
In the 53rd minute Leadbetter brought a superb diving save out of Woodhead after Mick Rogan set him up, in the 62nd minute Ashley Dunn dummied a Holt cross and Rogan went close then Woodhead made a good save to keep a 25 yard skimmer from Burton.
Tommy Lawson introduced Adam Morning and he helped build up the pressure. Rogan hit the crossbar and somehow full-back Joe Wilcox blocked a Leadbetter shot on the line.
Eventually Skelmersdale equalised with just six minutes left, Morning tucking the ball just inside the post.
The pressure continued with even Skelmersdale defender Tom Hardwick getting in on the act with a thumping shot that Woodhead did well to hold.
With two minutes left Leadbetter got the reward his efforts deserved. Keeping his cool to find the foot of the post from a tight situation, from where the ball crossed the line.
Frickley will have gone home disappointed, against a lesser team they would have won.
But Skelmersdale are such a spirited side at the moment and when Leadbetter picked up the Beacon Inn at Dalton Man of the Match award from the landlady his smile said he was glad to be back and the Skelmersdale supporters are clearly pleased to have him back, too.
l SKELMERSDALE UNITED: Hibbert, Wylie (Morning, 62), Holden, Hardwick ©, McIntosh (Wright, 69), Dunn, Strickland, Burton, Rogan, Leadbetter, Holt Subs (not used) Dean, Burnett, Paxton
l FRICKLEY ATHLETIC: Woodhead, Wilcox, Villermann, Picton, Gray, Jeffs, Ghaichem (Fox, 76), Bloor ©, Hinsley, Allott, Gardner Subs (not used) Yates, Fearon, Stratford, Rose
l Referee: David McNamara
l Attendance: 258