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Tuesday, 12 January 2016 (3074545)
Lawson takes positives from defeat at high-flyers
by Tom Martin

Salford City 4 Skelmersdale 0

Skelmersdale United emerged from what was a difficult day at Salford's muddy Moor Lane ground on Saturday as wiser men.

Manager Tommy Lawson said he learned plenty about his players, especially as they showed the pride in themselves to keep battling on against, what at times, was an impossible task.

If you are playing away against one of the two teams that are favourites to win the league, the last thing you want to do is concede an early goal, so when Salford scored in the fourth minute it didn't bode well for Skelmersdale.

And when it was 4-0 by the 46th minute it threatened to be a complete nightmare day for the visitors.

The fact that it wasn't a more damaging defeat was down to the tenacity of the Skelmersdale players and augers well for the future.

The first Salford goal came via a touch of individual magic from winger John Johnston. The number seven, who is on loan from Alfreton, gathered the ball on the right and cut inside, continuing his run before rifling a thunderous shot across goalkeeper Martin Fearon into the far corner.

The second on the quarter-hour had a bit of quality and bit of luck about it. Midfielder Scott Burton lifted a wonderfully-weighted ball into the space between goalkeeper and defender and James Poole set off after it, as did keeper Fearon. The latter looked a marginal winner until the ball appeared to hold slightly on the soft surface and give Poole the opportunity to dink the ball past Fearon and finish well.

It was a nice piece of skill from both Burton and Poole, but luck certainly didn't smile on Fearon.

As the half progressed Skelmersdale came more into the game and it became obvious that new forward Max Hazeldine had the legs on the Salford backline.

In the 16th minute the youngster, who is on loan from Accrington, saw his shot go wide and then on 19 minutes he made no such mistake but was frustrated to see Chris Lynch get back to clear his goalbound effort off the line.

Salford effectively secured the points in the 35th minute when Johnston went on a mazy run down the right culminating in him wriggling past two defenders before firing into the roof of the net.

When, within seconds of the re-start, a long ball was converted by Jordan Hulme to make it 4-0, Skelmersdale had to fear the worst, especially as Salford had won 7-1 the previous Saturday.

The rain poured and the pitch was arguably by the end unplayable, but referee Helen Byrne had to finish the game off after she had started it.

For Skelmersdale the introduction of Isaac Kusaloka up front made a difference and Hazeldine continued to cause problems for the hosts. Salford hit the post via Richie Allen, but to even that up home keeper Jay Lynch made one magnificent diving save from Kusaloka in the latter stages.

By the end though, it seemed everyone was just satisfied that the whistle had gone so that they could dry off after the second-half monsoon.

Tommy Lawson was full of praise for Salford after the match saying: “Sometimes you have to say you were beaten by a good team. They are a good team. Yes, they have resources that we at Skem can only envy, but they have used those resources well and look well set for a proper promotion push.

”We have learned a fair bit about ourselves this afternoon and quite a lot of it is positive, despite the score.“


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