Skelmersdale United manager Paul McNally has lauded his side for completing the perfect Bank Holiday weekend after emphatically securing promotion to the Northern Premier League and beating Macclesfield.
Mikey Howard scored four in their promotion playoff with Cinderford Town as Skem ran out 5-1 winners over the Gloucestershire side.
And on Bank Holiday Monday, Skem overcame North West Counties Premier Division champions Macclesfield, with Howard scoring the decisive goal, to book their place in the Macron Cup semi-final.
“It was the type of win I was hoping we could get, I didn’t think in a million years that we would get it like that, thought it would be nervier,” McNally told Off The Park. “Fair play to them, it was a tough game at the start they set the stall out, once we got the deadlock broken it gave us the confidence to keep going on.
“Once we scored after half-time, no one was beating us even though I was still nervous, even at 4-1 but no one was stopping us on that day, we were immense. The lads, every one of them, was outstanding and I take my hands off to them, I’ve got a special bunch of players, they were outstanding.
“We’ve achieved the same outcome as the champions, to go up and into the Evo-Stik/Northern Premier League, it’s a fantastic achievement and if you asked me at the start of the season could we have achieved it?
“I would’ve said yeah but realistically the top five would’ve been more achievable, it shows how well we’ve done as a group. The club were never putting me under pressure to get promoted, they were always happy with a top 10 finish after the recent seasons of where we’ve been since I took over. I’m just happy we’ve done it and it’s a remarkable achievement, the lads deserve all the plaudits they’ve been fantastic.
“He’s a top player Mikey, there’s not many better around at our level and he’s going to go on to bigger and better things. He will go through the leagues, he’ll go to Warrington next season and do really well there, I can see him going higher.”
Howard made it five in two games after tapping home the winner to beat Danny Whitaker’s side in a five-goal thriller to book a place against Charnock Richard in the semi-final.
“He’s the icing on the cake on Saturday’s win and he scored the winner so he’s had a great weekend, scored five goals in two games – what a man, what a player,” McNally added. “He’s only as good as the team he plays in and them lads help and assist him. He’s just the icing on the cake.
“We’re just going to keep going and take each game as it comes, if we win it, we win it. Yesterday (Monday) was a game we didn’t really want to play because we’d played 48 hours before, some of the lads were still out celebrating, we were all on a high and yesterday we went and turned them over.
“I rotated the squad, the five players who played on Saturday were sat on the bench on Monday and we’ve deserved the win, fully deserved it. We played football, done the right things, there was only one-team winning it 15-20 minutes before the end, that was us. It’s a credit to the lads how strong-minded they are to do that.
“We’ll take each game as it comes, we’ve got an even tougher game Saturday against Charnock Richard, if we win it, we win it, if we don’t our season’s finished, we’ll quite happily trot off into the sunset, take that and celebrate our season because we’ve achieved our outcome, promotion, that was the goal for us and we’ve had a successful season.”