TOMMY LAWSON believes his Skelmersdale United side passed another test of character against Southport on Tuesday night.
Skem were just moments away from an impressive Liverpool Senior Cup victory, only for a defensive error to let the Conference side in for a 3-3 draw. Southport then won the tie 5-4 in a penalty shootout.
Lawson, though, feels his side proved their credentials, and says the performance bodes well for the rest of the season, as they look to clinch promotion to the Conference North.
He said: “It is always good to test the players against higher-ranked opposition. It was a good challenge for us, and I think we handled it very well. I was proud of the performance we put in. It was a very competitive game, with six good goals. I felt we more than matched Southport throughout. It's just a shame that a defensive error, an uncharacteristic one, has cost us in the last minute. I was disappointed with that.
“I would never criticise any player for missing a penalty, because it takes guts to take one. I look at the performance in general, and for us there were a lot of positives.”
Skem were 2-0 winners at home to Buxton in the Evo-Stik Premier Division on Saturday, and this weekend travel to Ilkeston FC. They are second in the table, five points behind leaders Chorley, but Lawson says there are likely to be many more twists and turns during the final 15 games of the campaign.
“We can't be getting too bogged down looking at gaps,” he said. “Chorley are in pole position, but our job is to make sure we stay on their toes, so that if they do slip up we are ready to take advantage.
“We concentrate on ourselves, and I would suggest we are doing very well so far.
“But there are 15 games left; that's lots of football, lots of time for things to change.”
Lawson will welcome back Neil Prince, who missed the game against Southport, for Saturday's game. Rob McIntosh came through 90 minutes in midweek, whilst Lewis Field made his long-awaited return from injury.
Lawson also hopes to add a forward to his ranks before the weekend, but has concerns over Adam Morning and Kenny Strickland, who have hamstring problems, and Peter Wylie, who needed stitches in a mouth wound sustained against Southport.