Saturday 27th August
Evo Stik Northern Premier League Division 1 North
SKELMERSDALE UNITED 3 MOSSLEY 1
Tea hut purchase: Meat & Potato Pie £1.80p
Weather: Mainly sunny and warm
Parking: In the club car park
Its not a rough looking town (like some have commented) but its certainly a characterless one, coming off the M58 Motorway I didn't spot a single person all the way to the ground. Its all bland carriageways and very large roundabouts. Me and Frugal Glenn had a drink in the clubhouse bar before kick off, it was here we first encountered the obsessive raffle ticket sellers who are more relentless than that bloke in Terminator (they won't switch off). I got cornered at the bar, at the tea hut, on the terrace, in the stand, one of them even followed me in the bogs, "I dont want a bloody raffle ticket and I'm not coming out till you've gone" I shouted from the secured confines of trap No.1.
With the coast finally clear I got myself a programme, I was somewhat dismayed to find they were charging a full 2 quid for it! I became a lot more dismayed when I found it wasn't worth nowhere near that kind of money. A five minute read with the usual fillers of history and cut & paste Evo Stik stuff from the league website. The chemical fizz of wishy-washy Carling Black Label had given me a second wind for some grub. I joined Frugal Glenn in the queue for a small caravan-type tea hut adjacent to the clubhouse. Frugal took one glance at the price list before making an excuse and leaving the counter, he'd want the bloody caravan thrown in with the burger for that kind of dosh (Frugal likes caravan holidays)! I grimaced in handing over £1.80 for a bog standard Hollands Meat & Potato Pie. I can get 4 of the same pies for just 20p more in our local supermarket. Without wishing to appear critical I did consider this tea hut to be expensive. You get it at League grounds and also a few Council owned grounds even in non league circles, Halifax for example... I didn't expect to see it at Skelmersdale. To add insult to the fleecing, the pie was so ridiculously hot it was nearly half time before I chanced a bite (and then it burned the top of my mouth). On a more positive footing, the ground at Stormy Corner did look very pleasing in the warm summer sunshine (especially as it had thrown it down back at home).
Its a modern ground but recently it appears that the natural backdrop of nice green banking has added some welcome charm to the clubhouse end of the stadium and to the areas next to the main stand running along the touchline. The clubhouse has got a kind of DIY add on roof-cover to protect people from the elements, pity they cannot tidy up some of the tubular steel protruding from the structure. As for the main stand its 4 rows of blue bucket seats are raised above pitch level but I was a little disappointed with the view in there.
The front of the stand has large metal fencing in front of it and the rows of seating are so shallow that anybody sitting in front of you blocks your view.
Never mind, I told Frugal we'd sit on the grass banking which spread around the far end of the ground. Unfortunately once we got there we were met with lots of little signs posted along the grass stipulating that you couldn't stand there because of the health and safety hazard? What a load of utter b*llocks! No wonder Safety Management gets a bad press with this type of bobbins going on. A tip for Skelmersdale United... take the silly signs down and let people enjoy the grass, what makes this situation any different from people sat (or stood) on grass banks in public parks?
I'd better get on with the football I think. Skelmersdale almost got promotion last season and have started this term in similar style. Mossley have yet to win a game and would have to admit that the start of the 2011/12 campaign has been somewhat disappointing. Skelmersdale dominated the first half hour with some nice passing football. They looked in complete control as Mossley chased them around the park. However, the expected (vital) opening goal they richly deserved never arrived and a tad of frustration and panic could be detected. Mossley fed on the home sides indecision and started to have a few trips up the field themselves. Unbelievably, against the trend of play we'd seen since kick-off Mossley grabbed a 1-0 lead through Tom Ingham just before the break.
This could be interesting, would Mossley be able to hold onto the lead and make things extremely difficult for Skelmersdale in the second half? Well the answer was a resounding NO. The 1-0 lead disappeared only minutes into the second half when Mossley haplessly failed to clear their lines allowing Robert McIntosh to head home, they gave away 2 more miserably defended goals to Paul Woolcott in the 50th minute and the impressive Shaun Tuck in the 77th minute. Such a shame for Mossley as all 3 of the Skelmersdale goals were very much avoidable.
I do have to say that the home side thoroughly deserved all 3 points though, they played the better football on the day and look a good side, the only negative was that last 15 minutes of the first half when they lost their way. No disrespect intended, a lot better sides than Mossley would be more than pleased to receive similar charity. Just to finish off on my day out in Skelmersdale, the Match Shed got lost on the way back to the motorway, no wonder because everywhere looks exactly the same and there are a distinct lack of road signs (at least for the M58 there are). Anyway we had a very nice 15 minute drive around all the roundabouts again before finally chancing on the slip road.