A LATE Tony Rendell equaliser denied Hyde United the chance of reaching the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy against Skelmersdale at The West Lancashire College Stadium.

The result means that both teams will meet again at Ewen Fields on Monday night to decide who will progress to the next stage of non-league football’s premier cup competition.

Rendell, who had played superbly throughout the game at centre half, received the ball from a corner before driving it into the top right corner with a volley that any striker would have been proud of.

After both sides exchanged early chances, the Skem struck first blood through Ged Kinsella, who played a superb one-two with Tom Ince to put himself one on one with keeper Ed Wilczynski, before the former team mate of Ross Barkley slotted in a goal that is trademark of the Toffee’s young attacking midfielder.

Hyde were back level on the half-hour mark, however, with Sam Fitton taking what looked set to be 60 seconds of slow build up play, and turning it into a two second thunderbolt from 20 yards, in what was last action of note in the first half.

Both teams started full of fire and brimstone, yet the Tigers can feel aggrieved that they didn’t take the lead in the first minute of the second half. A breakdown in communication between the Skem defenders almost gifted forward Ayrton Bevins an open goal; if it wasn’t for Martin Fearon coming to the rescue.

Just two minutes later though it was the home side that was in front with Kinsella getting his second of the game. He once again instigated the play through Ince who was given licence to roam thanks to Tommy Lawson’s switch to 4-3-3 at the interval.

Both players combined brilliantly to give the Merseyside outfit the lead. Although that lead wasn’t to last, on the 52nd minute, Fitton switched the cylinders in his revolver to the right foot to fire in another howitzer, it took deflections from both centre backs, which gave Fearon absolutely no chance.

The Tigers went on to take the lead on the hour mark, through a superb headed effort by defender Andrew Pearson, who managed to climb over three Skem defenders to cannon the ball into the bottom right corner.

That goal looked to wrap things up for the home side, yet one last piece of magic from former Prescott Cables Rendell managed to secure what was a deserved draw for both teams; it was the sort of magic manager Tommy Lawson had got used to during his successful tenure at The Cables.

Rendell shines at both ends while Hyde rue missed chance

The Skem centre half played a crucial role in today’s game, not only scoring thelast minute equaliser, but also denying one for Hyde too.

Had Bevins rounded off his superb movement down the left wing that originally had the centre back left for dead with a goal then the talk of a replay on Monday would have been out of the question. Nonetheless, his superb, tireless effort at both ends today epitomised a team that manager Tommy Dawson stated ‘worked from start to finish to get that result’.

Meanwhile, for the away side they’ll be disappointed that they couldn’t have grabbed more of a stranglehold on the game in the first half, after having the lion’s share of chances and possession. And it wasn’t due to lack of effort that they didn’t come away from Merseyside with a win.

Both Hyde’s full-backs James Burke and Ryan Ellison did superbly throughout the game feeding balls to the marauding Bevins, who had  top scorer Scott Spencer with him today rather than impact player Peter Boyle – who would have made the task for Skelmersdale captain Robert McIntosh et al even more herculean of restricting the free scoring Hyde United we saw throughout September.

Fixture congestion a worry for both as Dawson berates referee

Skelmersdale manager Tommy Dawson would have been hoping to have the game sewn up in 90 minutes when he saw his team take the lead not long after half time, and felt his side deserved to if it wasn’t for a misjudged movement from referee Kevin Sarsfield.

Speaking after the game Dawson stated: “We had to work for it, we were up against it I thought the referee was pretty poor today, you could see what happened with that third goal with the position of the referee”.

Truth be told, it was unfortunate for the home side that Mr Sarsfield decided to be in that position that allowed former Macclesfield Town midfielder Fitton to instigate a move, however it would be harsh to take away what went on to be a superb strike by him to complete it.

Both managers also seemed worried that two games in three days will do no favours for ethers injury predicaments, with Lawson citing that: “Gary is in the same situation as us, they’re a little down on numbers, and we’ve had to play a few of the lads out of position today because of our injuries, but he’s crafty so he’ll have a team out, he’ll be competitive and he’ll go out to win”.

“A game played in the right way”

Those were the words from the Skelmersdale press officer Neil Leatherbarrow during the game’s closing stages, and they rung true throughout the game, not once did referee Kelvin Sarsfield award a card in the game as both teams looked to pass each other into submission. Perhaps it could be down to both managers being good friends away from the dugout, or the fact that both have injury concerns in key areas and had the next few weeks in mind coming into the cup encounter.

Nonetheless, it culminated in a game where long balls or mistimed challenges were few and far between. And with Skem’s Walter Fernandez and Jack Phillips doubt for Monday’s game after both limped off in the second half, and Hyde still without top scorer Scott Spencer it would be a fair assumption to make that the replay at Ewen Fields will be played in the same way. After today though, whoever wins that game is anyone’s guess.


Skelmersdale United: Fearon, Fernandez (Mooney ‘54), Corrigan (Holden ‘80), McIntosh ©, Rendell, Burton, Phillips (Staunton Turner ‘61), Strickland, Almond, Kinsella, Ince
Subs not used: Donaldson, Heron

Hyde United: Wilczynski, Ellison, Burke, Wilkinson, Pearson, Harris ©, Fitton, Snodin, Boyle, Bevins, Spencer.
Subs not used: Khamsuk, Boateng, Neville, Broadbent

Referee:  Kevin Sarsfield (Lancashire)
Attendance:  209

By Oliver Mackenzie at the West Lancashire College Stadium

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