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11 January 2013

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Our reasonably helpful and interesting take at the weekend's tie

The Town return to FA Trophy action on Saturday when Skelmersdale United visit Kenilworth Road in the third round of the FA Trophy.

Who? Skelmersdale United. Formed in 1882. Nicknamed the Skem, they play their home games at West Lancashire College Stadium, which has a capacity of 2,500.

Where? Skelmersdale play their football in the Evo-Stik Northern Division One North and are situated in the Lancashire. Not only is it home to the mighty Skem but the immaculate Concourse Shopping Centre... replay anyone?

Sorry, which league? The Evo-Stick Northern Division One North. To you and me that’s three leagues below the Blue Square Bet Premier. The equivalent difference in league standings was on show at Kenilworth Road last Saturday when Wolves were the visitors. The Town will not be underdogs this time however. Blue Square have priced the Hatters at long odds on at 1/5 to win on Saturday, whilst Skelmersdale are as a big as 10/1 to win.

It was new...once! In 1961 Skelmersdale was designated as a new town and Skelmersdale United took a new lease of life on the pitch. Five years after the restructure of the town, the Skem fought their way to the FA Cup Amateur final at Wembley Stadium in front of 75,000 spectators - roughly double the current population of the town itself.

Alarm bells ringing. Simon Ainge's former club Guiseley, a team two divisions higher, fell victim to the Skem in the previous round as they were dismissed impressively by Paul Griffiths’ side to book a third round tie with the Hatters. The Skem also beat Blue Square Bet North Boston United

Invincibles? Not quite in the same sentence as the Arsenal side that cruised through the Premier League, but the Skem are setting records of their own in the North. With 17 games played in the league, the Skem have won 15 and only dropped points twice with an unblemished away win record of seven wins from seven.

Slog it out. The Skem did lose their last fixture, however – but only after a marathon 120 minutes and a penalty shootout in a league cup tie against Cammell Laird on Wednesday night. 

It started with Salford. Skelmersdale will be playing their SEVENTH tie in the FA Trophy at the weekend. Their run in the competition started in the preliminary round on 15th September with a 4-2 win over Salford City. Victories over Prescot Cables, Witton, New Mills, Boston and Guiseley have since followed.

Versatile quality. A name that may be familiar with one or two of you footballing anoraks out there is Sam Ashton, ring any bells? For those of you still scratching your head, cast your mind back to Bolton Wanderers’ third round cup tie with Watford when the substitute keeper, Ashton, was brought on to replace Jared Borgetti...up front. Who said goalkeepers weren't good enough to play outfield?

Just the ticket. You can pay on the day tomorrow or buy in advance. Click here for prices.

Town team news. The Hatters will be without cup-tied duo Scott Neilson and Greg Taylor. JJ O’Donnell is likely to be missing once more as he recovers from a badly broken nose sustained in last Saturday’s FA Cup win over Wolves.

Trophy Tales. Saturday’s tie will be the Town’s 19th in the FA Trophy. Of those 19 the Town have only lost three times, including their first game in the competition in 2009 at Cambridge. Overall the record reads: played 18, won 10, drew 5, lost 3, scored 27, conceded 13.
The Hatters have only ever played a team from three divisions below them in the competition once, and that came in January 2011 when two goals apiece from Adam Watkins and Taiwo Atieno secured a 4-0 win over Uxbridge at Kenilworth Road.

Town’s Trophy record:
2009/10: Round 1: Cambridge United (a) L 1-3
2010/11: Round 1: Welling (h) D 0-0, replay (a) W 2-1. Round 2: Uxbridge (h) W 4-0. Round 3: Gloucester (h) W1-0. QF: Guiseley (a) W1-0. SF1: Mansfield (a) L0-1, SF2: Mansfield (h) D1-1 (aet)
2011/12: Round 1: Swindon Supermarine (h) W2-0. Round 2: Hinckley (a) D0-0, replay (h) W3-0. Round 3: Kidderminster (a) W2-1. QF: Gateshead (h) W2-0. SF1: York (a) L0-1, SF2: York (h) D1-1
2012/13: Round 1: Dorchester (a) 2-2, replay (h) W3-1. Round 2: Matlock (a) W2-1

Live and online. Don’t forget we’ll have live audio commentary on Hatters Player and live text update on the official website and our social media streams Facebook and Twitter. Post-match we’ll have a report, reaction, photographs, interviews and highlights. 

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