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Match Preview: Skelmersdale (H)

Andrew’s Match Preview

Colne v Skelmersdale United

NPL West

Holt House

Saturday 22nd October - 15:00

Colne welcome fellow Lancastrians Skelmersdale United to Holt House for another important league encounter.

Skelmersdale United nicknamed the Blueboys, were promoted to the NPL West after finishing runners up to Macclesfield in the North West Counties Premier division last season. This earned them an inter step play off away at Cinderford Town, which they comfortably won 5-1. Golden boot winner Michael Howard scored 4 times in the play-off, and he now plies his trade two divisions higher at Warrington Town. Skem haven’t played the Reds since the 2018/19 season when Colne won both games 1-0 at home, and 2-1 away in the Evo-stick league first division west, which saw the Blueboys finish bottom and therefore relegated back to the North West Counties. Skem’s home ground is the JMO sports park, however their pitch does not have the required accreditation and despite assurances from their landlords that the pitch would be brought up to standards, this was not followed through and an agreement was reached with Burscough FC for a groundshare until the pitch standard is met.

This season Skem have 12 points from 11 games, winning 4 and losing 7, and they currently sit in 15th place. Last time out, the Blueboys impressed in a 5-3 win away at Ramsbottom United with goals from Turner, McCarthy, Adegbenro and a double from Morris. Their other victories this season have come from away games at City of Liverpool 2-1 and Hanley Town 4-2, and a home win 3-2 over Prescot Cables. In the FA Cup, Skem knocked out Padiham in the extra preliminary round 2-1, but were then beaten at home to Prescot Cables 1-3. They were also knocked out of the FA Trophy at the first stage, losing on penalties away at Widnes after a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes.

Skelmersdale United players to watch - Former Warrington Rylands lightning winger Elliot Morris, was voted North West Counties Premier player of the season for 21/22 scoring 23 goals and picking up 11 man of the match awards. He’s adapted well stepping up to the NPL West, and has already scored 8 times this season. Former Blackpool striker Danny Mitchley has plenty of clubs on his CV, the most successful of which came at Marine where he weighed in with 81 goals. An earlier spell with Skem saw him score 35 times in only 56 appearances. This season Danny has featured 6 times scoring 4 goals. New signing Max McCarthy has hit the ground running since transferring in from FC United at the end of last month. The 6 foot 5 striker who was previously on Stoke City’s books, has scored in each of his 3 appearances. Often described as a tough tackling defensive midfielder, Sam Sheen was part of the Warrington Rylands team which won the FA Vase in 2021. An essential cog in last season’s promotion, Sam has played 12 times this season for the Blueboys. Skem are managed by former player/coach Richard Brodie, who took the reins at the beginning of September, when Paul McNally left to take over at City of Liverpool.

Last time out for the Reds - It was a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show last Saturday, when Colne entertained Prescot Cables at Holt House, trying to back up their performance of the season victory, at NPL Premier side Hyde United the previous week. Everything that could have gone wrong in the game did, as Cables didn’t have to do much to run out 2-0 winners. Harry Jones replacing Bradley Knox in the centre of midfield was the only team change, as Colne set off down the slope and could easily have been two up inside five minutes. Owen Watkinson pounced on a spill from the Prescot keeper in the first minute, but somehow managed to lift his effort high, clipping the cross bar. Four minutes later Jack Doherty, clean through, managed to beat Mitchell Allen in the Cables goal, only to see his strike once again hit the bar. Meanwhile, Luke Stowe pulled up with a hamstring issue in his first challenge. Unable to run it off, he was replaced after nine minutes by Tom McCann as Cables came back into the game, with Adam Hammill proving a dangerous threat. Owen Watkinson was having a physical battle with the Cables’ centre halves and after twenty minutes he was shown the yellow card for a late foul. Three minutes later, he received a second yellow, and was sent off for another late challenge, not helped by the reaction of the Prescot players. Cables took full advantage of their extra man and pushed forward and five minutes before half time, a Hammill cross was stroked home by Kyle Sambor to give the away side the lead after the first 45. Although the home side showed spirit in the second half, kicking uphill a goal and a man down, proved too much for the Reds, and on 65 minutes, a back pass from Glenn Steel was not reached by Colne keeper Andre Mendes, and the impressive Sambor nipped in and doubled his side’s lead. More bad news for Reds boss Phil Brown came near the end of the game, when Jack Doherty, who had run his socks off, went down under a challenge from the aggressive Tom Dean, and the distraught youngster hobbled from the field fearing a bad injury. Prescot saw the remainder of the game out to win 2-0 and move into second place in the table. This defeat means the Reds have now slipped into 19th place in the league with 8 points from 9 games. Matty Kardacz’s performance was one of the few positives Colne could take from the 90 minutes.

Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Harry Winstanley continues with his rehab. He started jogging on Thursday, then it’s a matter of getting his sharpness and fitness back for a return in 3-4 weeks.

Ellis Wallbank is also working on his fitness and recovering from his knee injury. He’ll start training next Thursday on a non contact basis and be monitored from there.

Aaron Turner is still out with a knee issue which needs a scan before any progression.

Jack Doherty will have a scan next week through the PFA to determine if he has an ACL injury, which if confirmed, would keep him out for some time.

Luke Stowe picked up a grade 1 hamstring injury early in last week’s game against Prescot, and he won’t be available for selection. Likely to be out for 1-2 weeks.

Kyobe “Danny” McDaniel had to come off in the friendly against Fleetwood a week last Tuesday, and it has been confirmed that he has fractured his collar bone and is likely to be out for between 6-8 weeks.

Hakan Burton’s shoulder injury, means he’ll miss the remainder of the season.

Team news - This time last week Phil Brown was looking at a strong full bench. This week he is struggling to fill it. Bradley Knox will be a welcome return from holiday, and Lucas Weaver will get a chance to lead the line - in the absence of the suspended Owen Watkinson - and show the form he is capable of, as demonstrated earlier in the season. He may well be joined in attack by Enock Lusiama, who has been brought in on a short term loan from Accrington Stanley, having had a similar loan at National League North side Southport earlier in the season. Another alternative could be Craig Carney playing further forward or as a number 10, and Tom McCann is likely to replace the injured Luke Stowe on the left hand side. Phil Brown has also brought in two young defenders from Fleetwood Town’s development side to help bolster the squad. Tom Hoyle is a 19 year old centre half who was on loan earlier in the season at Bamber Bridge, and he is joined by 18 year old Northern Ireland youth international Jake Wallace, who normally plays at right back. Both are likely to make the bench. Charlie Russell has left the club and returned to Clitheroe FC.

Skelmersdale United arrive at Holt House with their tails high after a thrilling 5-3 win at Ramsbottom United last Saturday. They found themselves behind three times, before powering away to collect the three points. It’s no secret that their star player is dynamic winger Elliot Morris and he’s been joined on the other flank by new loanee Sam Turner, from Chester. Wide play is Skem’s forte as their full backs like to get forward at every opportunity too, so it’s no surprise that new signing 6 foot 5 striker Max McCarthy has scored 3 in 3 since arriving at the club. Colne’s loss last week was of their own doing, due to being reduced to ten men for three quarters of the game. They were not helped by some unfortunate injuries and an unforced error, which saw Prescot clinch their second goal. But truth be told, even with ten men, the Reds matched a side who are now sitting in second place in the league table. The two Toms - Fagan and McCann - will need to stay disciplined down the flanks and marshall United’s main threats. Colne’s impressive trio at the back will need to be alert, as Skem have scored 20 times in the league already this term. It will however be the Blueboys’ defence which could be their undoing, and where the Reds can exploit. 25 times Skem’s goal has been breached this season, and if Lucas Weaver, supported by new signing Enoch Lusiama, Craig Carney and Oli Roberts can apply enough pressure, then the Reds can pick up the three points to hopefully move them away from the relegation places.

Admission Prices are:

Adults - £9

Concessions - £6

Under 16’s - £1

Under 12’s - Free

Upcoming games

Tue 25th October - Glossop North End v Colne - 19:45 NPL West

Sat 29th October - Colne v Warrington Rylands - 15:00 FA Trophy First round

Sat 5th November - Colne v Bootle - 15:00 NPL West

Today’s other NPL West games - 15:00

City of Liverpool v Leek Town

Clitheroe v Newcastle Town

Glossop North End v Runcorn Linnets

Hanley Town v Workington

Kidsgrove Athletic v Bootle

Macclesfield v 1874 Northwich

Mossley v Prescot Cables

Widnes v Trafford

Witton Albion v Ramsbottom United


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