St Helens Town 1 Litherland REMYCA 2 (Liverpool Senior Cup).

St Helens Town 2 Cheadle Town 3.

FINE margins and a team short on confidence saw St Helens Town go out of the Liverpool Senior Cup at the First Round stage for the sixth year in a row and lose out to Cheadle in a league game last Saturday in very windy conditions.

A little more self-belief, particularly on at the weekend, might just have seen them home.

The cup draw, pitting them against REMYCA for the second year in succession, was asking a lot.

The team currently placed third in the First Division table with only one defeat this season were always going to be a tough nut to crack, yet Town started strongly. Alex Ashby hit a powerful drive which Morrow did well to tip over the bar in the 13th minute and it came as no surprise when St Helens took a deserved lead three minutes later, when Liam Dodd back-headed a long ball into the visitors’ net.

Town’s advantage did not last long. A two-pronged attack from Litherland caught home keeper Adam Fairchild by surprise as he appealed for offside, but Foy netted to level the scores in the 21st minute and the same player put his side 2-1 ahead in the 32nd minute, with a strike just inside the right post, out of Fairchild’s reach.

Litherland always looked in command from that point onwards and, try as Town might, they never really looked like breaking down the visitors’ tight defence.

Saturday saw a really windy day, which visitors Cheadle Town used to their advantage in the first half.

They occupied a position in the table a few places above St. Helens, but having played two games less and traditionally, matches between the sides in recent seasons have been entertaining and full of goals.

The home side looked a little jaded after Thursday’s cup exploits and they were clearly not enjoying playing into the teeth of the gale, yet had an early chance when Shaun Brady launched a cross which Liam Dodd only just missed converting at the far post.

Antony Trucca opened the scoring for Cheadle after 12 minutes in fortunate circumstances. A long free kick was touched on to his post by Australian keeper Gage Walsh, but Trucca scrambled home the rebound at the second attempt.

St. Helens tried to restrict the away side for the rest of the half, but a blunder in defence set up Richard Whyatt in space and he scored easily to stretch the lead to 2-0 four minutes before half-time.

St Helens toiled for self-belief in the opening period of the second half, but Brady pulled one back following Luke Edwards’ 50-yard break down the middle and, as they pushed for the equaliser, Edwards hit a post but unlike Cheadle, the ball shot out of play.

Then St. Helens shot themselves in the foot when Walsh needlessly brought down a Cheadle player in the box, thereby gifting the visitors a penalty which Luke Pearson despatched after 65 minutes to put his side 3-1 up.

Again, St. Helens toiled for ambition, before Brady scored his second to take the score to 2-3 with five minutes to go, but they had given themselves too much to do and time ran out with another home defeat their only reward.

Thursday night sees a Second Round tie in the First Division Cup when St. Helens Town entertain Daisy Hill at Ruskin Drive.

Kick-off is at 7.30pm, to allow for penalties to decide the tie, if scores are level after 90 minutes.

The winners will earn a place in the last eight of the competition.

Eccleshall are the visitors on Saturday in the first return match of the league season, kick-off 3pm, with Town seeking revenge for a 3-2 defeat in Staffordshire in August, another game St Helens ought to have won, but which they lost to a breakaway goal in the last few minutes when they were pressing to win the match.