Bacup Borough Football Club
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Runcorn Linnets 1-2 Bacup Borough
Tommy Turner (43)
Daniel Cocks (72)
Sat 10 Mar 2012 KO 15:00

Team: Ryan Jones, Adrian Bellamy, Adam Turner, Otis Gorman, Matthew Kemp, Daniel Cocks, Davey Luker, Kingsley Williams, Aaron Walters, Tommy Turner (Gareth Wager), Lee Oldham (Aleem Salim)
Subs not used: Marcus King, Cameron Parish, Matthew Wrigley

Bacup Borough progressed to the Semi Final of the League Challenge Cup setting themselves up with a mouth watering two legged tie with Barnoldswick Town. Runcorn Linnets will be looking back with regret that during the first forty five minutes they failed to take advantage of Bacup Borough’s dreadful start from which Linnets took the lead in the first minute, created themselves some excellent opportunities to have more than doubled their lead and but for some missed opportunities and excellent goalkeeping by Ryan Jones this tie could have been over with by half time.

Bacup took the kick off, the ball was knocked down by a Linnets defender, their midfield were sharper and onto the second ball which was put wide in the channel, the ball was knocked long before being delivered right across goal, not one Bacup player attacked the ball which found Adam Wade at the far post who shot in front from their first attack, Runcorn supporters must have believed they were going to get a bag full of goals from such a good start and such a flat start from the visitors who needed too many touches and too long on the ball, this in contrast to their host who were busy and at will capitalising on Bacup shocking start.

Bacup had their keeper Ryan Jones to thank when he was faced with a 1v 1 situation but he came out and made himself big before producing an excellent save, on another move Linnetts forced a corner which was partly cleared, the resulting player shot hard and low but again Jones did make an important stop, this time with his legs.

If the way that Bacup Borough’s performance was not bad enough, things did not get any better when Lee Oldham twisting and turning with the ball, the lad in explicably went down with a badly twisted ankle to the point of having to be substituted, with several injuries & a car breaking down en-route, this paved the way for sixteen year old Aleem Salim to make his first team debut, Aleem took up the wide right position with Daniel Cocks going up front to partner Tommy Turner.

When Adrian Bellamy handled the ball with his arm some twenty yards out, it seemed like Bacup were willing Runcorn to score, but with half time fast approaching, Bacup started for the first period in the game getting on top and working good positions but nothing was coming from it, then Kingsley Williams & Aaron Walters were both caught out for indecisive decision making to the point that Walters lost the ball and with it Walters committed a foul and a free kick was awarded from which the Runcorn player shot wide of the post.

On forty three minutes Bacup were level, Daniel Cocks did exceptionally well going up the Bacup left, with several players around him. The lad showed strength and skill enough to afford himself enough space to pick out his strike partner Tommy Turner to produce a wonderful well struck first time shot into the roof of the net.

Bacup almost let Linnetts back in when once again Aaron Walters played an inside ball that Kingsley Williams failed to deal with thus gifting his counterpart the chance to get his shot off which whistled wide of the upright.

The second half Bacup came out a totally different side in terms of them getting a grip and stamping their authority on the game, young sixteen years old Aleem Salim got on the ball, got his head up and was certainly confident enough to send a shot that was just inches wide of the post, then Aaron Walters was seen to be fouled resulting in a free kick being awarded, Daniel Cocks put a perfectly quality delivery in which the advancing Adrian Bellamy almost got himself connecting with the ball but sadly not to be, on seventy five minutes the ball was knocked in behind, the Keeper came out, whilst Turner was pushing himself to get to the ball first, his persistence did pay off as he got enough on the ball to knock the ball past him, steadying himself before repaying the compliment to Daniel Cocks who produced an excellent finish.

This provided for an exciting last fifteen minutes at both ends of the pitch, as the home side produced several corners from which Bacup did deal with admirably, whilst at the opposite end of the pitch Bacup were always a threat.

Following the game we spoke to an highly delighted Bacup Manager who had this too say “The way we started and that early goal we conceded, this followed by the amount of chances and the amount of times Runcorn did capitalise upon our weakness in midfield, an area we would normally be strong, did get me somewhat worried to say the least, however I was always confident that should we go in at half time having only lost the one goal, I was sure with the quality we have in the side we would turn the game around, Runcorn were sharper and brighter than us in the first half but I must give my lads a massive amount of credit for the way they all pulled in, rallied in there together, without making excuses, the actual playing surface was not good and certainly did not suit what we are about, this is the reason I witnessed one of the worst first half team performances from a Bacup Borough team this season,

Peters added, for our equaliser Daniel Cocks did brilliant work before finding Tommy Turner who equally produced an excellent razor sharp finish, everything about that goal was quality, the technique from Daniel Cocks, the finish and most importantly the timing of the equalising goal setting us up nicely for the second half,

Peters continued “ it just goes to show how important good Goal keepers are in ones team, when having to make vital saves at a critical part of the game, our Ryan Jones certainly kept us in the game by taking up excellent positions and with this making vital saves in the first half after us loosing the opening goal, those saves were critical in us progressing, the second half the lads collectively started to compete, and with this did not over complicate anything by over playing, the pitch warranted that the ball went in behind in order to turn them, this we did, Kingsley and Davey got to grips in midfield, the wide players tucked in more to assist them, Daniel Cocks was constantly a thorn in their side, the Bacup defence were much improved in the second half dealing with those crosses and a succession of corners, Gareth Wager was introduced into midfield giving us that extra energy at a time when we needed to freshen things up, Gareth certainly freshened us up and also gave us that competitive edge that was required,

Peters finished by saying “for how well certain individuals played throughout, particular in the second half. My parting compliments must go to Aleem Salim a sixteen year old former Bury FC youngster making his debut in a senior game for us, Aleem was not fazed, he played with confidence, when we moved Aleem up front in order to give us legs in closing down in order to make life difficult for their back line, this he did very well, for a lad to make his debut at sixteen years of age at the level we are competing in, it is not easy, made more difficult taking into account what was at stake in this game, a Semi Final place, so all in all it as been a frustrating but rewarding day in many ways”