Joe Skarz is rapidly making a name for himself as Golcar United’s free-kick specialist after scoring in back-to-back matches.

Left-sided defender Skarz, 32, struck a 25-yard free-kick against Garstang and followed it up with a curler that evaded everyone in the box and looped over the keeper to open the scoring against Bacup Borough last Monday.

The former Huddersfield Town player is now a key figure both on and off the field, helping out with the coaching duties at the Skye Direct Stadium.

While he is charged with keeping it tight at the back he also loves to push forward – and when there’s a free-kick in shooting range he’s the man to take it.

“When I was at Huddersfield I used to be on free kicks quite a lot,” he said. “I practice them all the time and know where I want to put them. I know if I get them on target it has a good chance of going in and that’s what happened against Bacup.

“I back my quality and technical ability to put a good ball in. We have people in this team who want to score goals and if they get a good delivery of a set piece they will score.

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“I thought they defended it a bit naively, actually. I saw they left a big gap in the wall so I knew if I could get it on target it had a good chance of going in.”

Skarz was so confident over the free-kick he even joked with the crowd that he was going to score!

The goal gave Golcar the edge in a close first half and though the visitors equalised, the Weavers bagged all three points when Ash Flynn went over in the box and smashed home the winner from the penalty spot.

“They are a good team, a tough opponent,” said Skarz. “They beat us here last year, I like them, they seem a good group of lads who are respectful which I like.

“Last year was a hard game and we knew this time around it would be much the same. It was a big, vital win. I think we got a bit lucky with the winner but you take it.”

The victory – a sixth in seven matches – meant Golcar edged back to the top of the table on goal difference after an unbeaten start to the season.

Skarz, who had a miserable time at Bury when the club was engulfed in financial problems and players went unpaid, is now playing football with a smile on his face again.

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“I’m loving my time at Golcar,” he said. “I had a tough time at Bury when they were in the Football League. I kind of fell out of love with football really with everything that happened.

“I wasn’t being paid and you have a family to look after. Some people think footballers have thousands of pounds and, don’t get me wrong, we are paid well. However, at that level you still need to be paid to pay the bills.

“It was a tough time a few years ago and if I am honest I should have come here sooner.

“I spoke to Ash and Gav Connor whilst I was at Kettering. I was there because I got offered a good contract.

“However, I wish I’d have come here earlier because I love it here and I’m loving my football. It was definitely the best decision I made to come here.

Loving his football – Joe Skarz

“I want to work hard for the club and I help on the coaching side with Ash and Gav. They have both done wonders for this club and the same goes for all the volunteers and the chairman. It’s just a great place to be.”

Golcar go to Ashton Town on Saturday (3.00) and are back on home turf against Chadderton on Tuesday (7.45).

Skarz said the players were in confident mood and added: “We are playing well. We have just got to stay focused.

“Anyone in this league can beat anyone. It’s very competitive and strong and there are plenty of players at this level that in my opinion could play at a much higher level.

“We know what we want to achieve but those goals are internal and will stay in the dressing room.”

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