Boston United and Skelmersdale fought out a tough 1-1 draw in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
Spencer Weir-Daley came off the bench to score an equaliser for the Blue Square Bet North Pilgrims.
But the Evo-Stik Northern Division One title-chasers – who finished with 10 men - fully deserved their draw following Kenny Strickland’s cracking opener.
With eight minutes on the clock, Boston had a golden opportunity to take the lead.
But Mark Jones, slipped in by Marc Newsham, blazed high with his favoured right foot.
And when Newsham found himself in a goalscoring opportunity moments later, former FC United keeper Sam Ashton got down well to tip his low strike wide.
Skem took a quarter of an hour to create their first chance, but Gary Burnett was within a whisker of opening the scoring with a 20-yard strike.
As the visitors grew in confidence, they began bossing proceedings.
It took Tom Ward’s goalline clearance to prevent Rob McIntosh heading his side in front, following Kenny Strickland’s corner.
And it was Strickland who gave Skem a deserved lead in the 51st minute.
After Dan Haystead got down well to save Burnett’s effort, the ball found its way to the midfielder, who powered home from 20 yards out.
It was almost 2-0 when Louis Corrigan saw his free kick curl away from Haystead’s post.
In the 59th minute, Jason Lee tried to liven his Pilgrims up.
Spencer Weir-Daley and Jason Stokes replaced Mark Jones and Ben Fairclough.
But the home fans weren’t entirely convinced, a round of boos going up when Fairclough’s number was shown.
But Lee’s changes came good five minutes later as Weir-Daley fired Boston level.
After pressuring Warren Bellew into a mistake, he darted goalwards before blasting high into the net.
Things went from bad to worse for Skem in the 67th minute as Antony Hickey received his marching orders for a late follow-through on Newsham.
Weir-Daley nearly doubled his tally but – when Newsham slotted him through – is chip was hit too hard.
Skelmersdale almost took the lead again with 13 minutes remaining, but Corrigan’s deadball was just off target.
But at the other end, Newsham came close with a glancing header, from Ian Ross’ cross, but the ball flew over.
McIntosh came within a whisker for Skem, his header beating Haystead but rebounding off the crossbar.
A fine save from Ashton denied James Reed on the turn from six yards out.
And in stoppage time, Ashton was the hero once more, tipping Ross’ dipper over.
And that was that... more of the same on Tuesday please.
UNITED: Haystead, Marshall, Jelleyman, Milnes, Ward, Stainfield, Reed, Ross, Jones (Weir-Daley 59), Newsham, Fairclough (Stokes 59); Subs (not used): Silk, Smith, Drury. SKELMERSDALE: Ashton, Jackson (Turner 74), Birnett, Strickland, Bellew (Houghton 74), Hickey, Hardwick, McIntosh, Field, Corrigan, Woolcott; Subs (not used): Morning, Saleh.
Ref: Sarah Garratt.