Stourbridge 1, Skelmersdale United 0

STOURBRIDGE bounced back to winning ways with a hard-earned victory against high flying Skelmersdale United.

Drew Canavan's brilliant first half free kick was enough to see the Glassboys put back-to-back league defeats behind them.

The had to weather a United onslaught just after the break but stood up well to the task. On-loan Kieran Morris came in to partner Exodus Geohaghon at the back following Paul McCone's departure last week, while Leon Broadhurst took the captain's armband.

It was Stour that started the brighter, as they have done so often this season. The willing runs of forwards Josh Morgan-Parker and George Bowerman caused United a host of problems throughout.

Bowerman was unlucky not to score in the first 15 minutes as he curled a good effort just wide of keeper Martin Fearon's post.

A host of chances followed for the home side. First Broadhurst saw a powerful, long-range effort tipped over before Morgan-Parker turned well in the box but fired agonisingly wide.

In contrast, Stour goalkeeper Dean Coleman was hardly called into action despite some good build up play from Skelmersdale.

Gary Hackett's men got their just rewards in the 39th minute.

Bowerman turned well but was brought down on the edge of the box. Canavan stepped up to curl a fine free kick into the top corner to break the deadlock and edge the hosts ahead at half time.

The second period saw the visitors push on with purpose as the looked to find an equaliser.

Now it was time for goalkeeper Coleman to come to the fore.

First he denied Alex Meaney by tipping a power effort past his post just two minutes after the re-start. He then saved from a Connor McCarthy header from the resulting corner.

He again showed his reflexes when tipped a Kenny Srickland strike over his bar after 51 minutes.

The Glassboys dropped deeper as they attempted to soak up sustained Skelmersdale pressure.

Time and time again they held the visitors at bay. When United did get through they found Coleman in inspired form to keep them out.

The introduction of Peter Till with just over 20 minutes to go then helped Stour get on the front foot again.

After weathering the United storm then managed to finish strong and worked a few more openings on the break.

After taking a deserved lead, Stourbridge had to show their fighting spirit to take anything from the contest. It was something they were more than willing to do and brings a result to offer many positives as the busy Christmas period, which includes a Boxing Day bonanza against local rivals Halesowen, edges nearer.

Stourbridge: Coleman, Morgan-Parker (Smikle 89), Brown (Till 67), Morris, Richards, Geoghaghon, Hayles, Broadhurst (c), Bowerman (Ramsey-Dickson 75), Canavan, Knight.

Unused subs: Benbow, Tye.

Skelmersdale: Fearon, Wylie, Short, McIntosh (c), Bodie, Kirkbride (Simpson 61) (Thompson 67), Srickland, Burton, Bakkor, McCarthy, Meaney (Astbury 71).

Unused subs: Mitchley, Tollitt.

Att: 412.