It's a massive day for Skelmersdale United as they travel to North Yorkshire to face Harrogate Town in the Emirates FA Cup this evening.
It is the first time in 25 years that a club from the North West Counties League have progressed this far in the World's most famous club Cup Competition and Skem have looked right at home as they have progressed through the rounds. For Skem it's the first time in 50 years since they have graced this stage of the competition.
It's not been easy to get games played this season but when they have been played, they've certainly mattered. Skelmersdale's FA Cup campaign started back on September 1st when they looked out of it at half time against Penistone Church with the visitors leading 0-2 at the break. A brace from Emini Adegbenro and an 84th minute winner from Joe Herbert saw them through. In the Preliminary Round they travelled to fellow Premier Division side, Congleton Town and came away with a 2-1 win with Emini Adegbenro bagging against his former club and Daniel Murphy netting the winner.
A home tie with Bootle followed and it was another late show with Jack Grimshaw's 86th minute winner seeing Skem through with another 2-1 win. It was the same scoreline again in the Second Qualifying Round as Lancaster City visited the JMO as Mike Grogan and Gabriel Ellis did the damage to knock out their former rivals from the NPL. Next up were fellow NWCFL side Longridge Town and it was a penalty from Adegbenro that seperated the sides in a close game up in Lancashire.
To seal passage into tonight's game Skelmersdale travelled to ,Stafford Rangers, a club with a good heritage in this competition but were comprehensive 1-4 winners away at The Boro with a brace apiece from Adegbenro and goals from Lloyd Ellams sealing the deal and ending in joyous scenes on the pitch.
Speaking ahead of the game, Manager Paul McNally is clearly looking forward to the game but clearly focussed on the game. "W eknow it will be a tough game, however we are not going just to make up the numbers and look good on the TV, we are going to try and do the job and give Harrogate a competitive game and see if we can get a win. Yes we will enjoy the occasion but the bottom line is that it's a cup tie and it is there to be won like the rest of them."
Tonights game is live on TV and can be seen on BT Sport 1 from 7pm. There is set to be a minutes silence ahead of the game for former Skelmersdale United and NWCFL Chairman, Dave Tomlinson who passed away this week. We wish Skelmersdale United the best of luck this evening and hope you enjoy the occasion.