AFTER Saturday’s FA Cup exit, Skelmersdale turned in a vastly improved performance at Shawe View and in the end didn’t deserve to lose.
Trafford entered the game after a huge FA Cup victory over neighbours Altrincham on Saturday and on recent form started strong favourites.
The first-half for the most part was an evenly matched affair with both teams eager to counter attack quickly.
At the midway point, Leadbetter had a shot saved by Trafford goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara before Rob McIntosh put a snapshot wide after a free-kick.
Trafford had their moments too.
A Shelton Payne free-kick missed the target and Michael Oates was a permanent nuisance to the Skelmersdale defence.
Trafford got the breakthrough in the 37th minute and it was yet another counter attack that brought about the goal.
Oates took the ball from halfway and got the retreating Skelmersdale defenders on the back-foot, he then prodded the ball through to Omar McKenzie and he finished well from an angle via the crossbar.
In the 47th minute after a foul on Ashley Dunn, Tom Hardwick headed the ball down and goalkeeper O’Hara made a superb intervention to prevent the ball reaching Nick Rogan, who had the goal otherwise at his mercy. Then in the 53rd minute a sweeping overlap by Skelmersdale left-back Shaun Holden brought a fine reaction save from O’Hara with his foot.
Skelmersdale committed more and more players into attack, Alan Burton and Dale Wright both being thwarted.
So, although it was completely against the run of play, it is a risk you take when chasing an equaliser and Trafford scored a second in the 86th minute, Payne striking the killer blow.
After the game Skelmersdale manager Tommy Lawson said: “The players bounced back well after Saturday, we just had no luck tonight, I thought we deserved to win on that second-half performance.”