No historic first as Millers crash out of FA Trophy

FA Carlsberg Trophy Third Qualifying Round

Skelmersdale United 3, New Mills 1

New Mills’ bid to reach the national stages of the FA Carlsberg Trophy for the first time in the club’s history ended at The West Lancashire College Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Skelmersdale made a dream start after a mere 80 seconds. A quick attack caught the whole defensive line napping and Josh Hine, playing in his last game for the home side before starting a new career in The RAF, hit the target.

The lively Hine doubled Skem’s lead just before the half-hour after latching onto a low cross and finishing through the legs of keeper Andrew Mills.

The Millers had plenty of territorial possession in the first half but failed to create any meaningful goalscoring opportunities to significantly test Sam Ashton in the home goal.

The visitors took the game to Skelmersdale in the second half but only after Andrew Mills had kept them in the cup tie with an excellent save.

Substitute Leon Grandison contributed to the visitors halving the deficit. His cross from the right found the unmarked Carlos Meakin whose trademark run into the penalty area saw the midfielder burst free and fire home into the roof of Ashton’s net.

Five minutes later, Michael Fish had a goalbound effort superbly diverted away by a flying defensive block.

With The Millers throwing caution to the wind, it left them open to the counter attack and this proved decisive with 12 minutes remaining. A long defensive clearance completely exposed the back line again to Skelmersdale’s pacey attackers and this time, Michael Phoenix ran free into clear space and beat Mills.

Chris Young drew the save of the match from Ashton deep into stoppage time but even if that had gone in, it probably would have been too little, too late for Roy Soule’s side.

New Mills: Mills, Bowler, Fitzpatrick, Headley (Hampson), Chadwick, Weston, Meakin, Young, Fish, Moore (Grandison), Horrocks. Unused subs: Innes, Burgess, Halton (GK).