Michael Gervin (12) (45) Yves Zama (46) Dominic Marie (53)
||Tom Peterson (56) (87)
Wed 22 Apr 2015 KO 20:00pm
Brian Boys West View Stadium
Team: 1. Harris 2. Bellamy (c) 3. Walker (Sub Birtles) 4. Wager 5. Holt 6. G.Kuba-Kuba 7. Gervin (Sub Bryan) 8. Ashfaq 9. Marie 10. Zama 11. Cocks
Subs not used: Rahman, Morgan & Maine
Bacup & Rossendale Borough put on an outstanding performance against Bootle to take the fight for survival all the way down to the final day of the season.
It was another beautiful day and evening in Bacup with clear blue skies and soaring temperatures (for the UK that is) and the pitch was pristine and ready to host the final home game of the season against Bootle FC.
Bacup boss Brent Peters clearly felt that after the win against Winsford United on Saturday that not many changes were needed to be made and with this only one change was made with Wayne Morgan making way for Daniel Cocks.
With the sun starting to set over the picturesque Lancashire hills and with the Borough needing to win or they would be relegated it was a big game however they got off to the worst possible start. Inside the first ten seconds, yes the first ten seconds, the visitors had themselves a penalty kick to quieten the Bacup fans. From the kick-off a ball was floated over the top of the defence and Bacup full-back Richard Walker was adjudged to have brought the attacker down from behind. With a sense of utter disbelief going around the Brian Boys West View Stadium this soon turned to sheer relief as Tom Peterson stepped up and struck wide of the target, incredible let off for the home side.
Following this Bacup did calm down and started playing with real purpose and looked to have a good shout for a penalty kick of their own just five minutes later as Walker curled in an inviting free-kick to which Adrian Bellamy looked as though he was pushed with two hands from a Bootle defender however, the referee didn’t feel there was enough in it.
In the 12th minute the Borough broke first blood and opened the scoring and what a brilliant team goal it was. With the ball bouncing on the half-way line Daniel Cocks nonchalantly flicked the ball over his right shoulder and over the Bootle defence which allowed Dominic Marie to use his electrifying pace and beat his man comfortably and pull back to Michael Gervin who was just entering the box and he fired it home with real panache.
Apart from the early scare in the first ten seconds Bacup were dominant throughout; their intensity, fierce pressing, hunger and desire was absolutely incredible, the visitors weren’t getting a second on the ball to pick out a pass and play which allowed Bacup to win it back and start another attack.
When you need a win, any win, no matter how the goals are scored, well with 20 minutes gone Michael Gervin thought why not from 40 yards and why not almost turned into why oh yes as he thumped a lumping half-volley from like I said at least 40 yards and it only just dropped a couple of inches wide of the target.
The on loan Halifax Town striker Dominic Marie was using his pace once again to torment defenders as he felt he had the upper hand in regards to speed going in behind where the space lies and this time he was a good five yards behind the defender and still got to the ball before him. The striker then cut inside onto his favoured right foot and struck to the near post however it was easily grasped by Richie Cowderoy in the Bootle goal.
With the home side still clearly in the ascendency a second goal was much needed and you felt it was only a matter of time with the way they were playing and first half substitute Shane Birtles went on a rampageous run from left-back. He carried the ball from the left touchline inside to which he then drove right at the heart of the Bootle defence, pulled out a few silky step overs, cut inside and then struck well to which Cowderoy could only parry away for a corner.
From the resulting corner it really should have been goal number two for the Borough as Daniel Cocks’ delivery once again was on the money however it looked as though Kuba-Kuba and Zama both attacked the same ball. The ball though then dropped at the feet of both Bacup players and somehow they couldn’t smash the ball over the line from a couple of yards.
The away side weren’t getting any joy at all when they did push forwards into the Bacup half however they did come close to equalising in the 25th minute as a cleverly worked free-kick was flicked inches wide from Sean Coulton.
Daniel Cocks’ return to the Bacup side has made a big difference, once again he was causing the opposition in the blue shirts havoc with his clever touches and cute trickery and not to mention his work rate, leading the ferocious constant pressing and winning the ball back for his team.
With just five minutes remaining of the first-half a real moment of controversy arose after a nasty challenge on Borough forward Yves Zama. It was one of them tackles where both players are running at full speed in order to get to the ball first and Zama got to the ball first and following this was met by and crunched by Bootle’s Sean Coulton. It was a late tackle to which studs were showing and was extremely dangerous to Yves Zama and after the obligatory handbags the referee showed Coulton a straight red card.
Just to dip back into the handbags there it was noteworthy to point out that in the melee following the tackle Daniel Cocks appeared to have been head butted and I believe the referee showed the guilty party a yellow card. I am not 100% if it was the Bootle captain Jamie Hay however he was also cautioned in the confrontation.
This is extremely relevant as just a matter of seconds later Hay received a second yellow card followed of course by a red card for a late challenge, the player himself looked as though he knew straight away and as a result this left Bootle with just nine men left on the pitch.
It got even worse for the visitors shortly after as Bacup did double their lead and it was that man again, normally the assist king, Michael Gervin smashed the ball into the back of the net to send the Borough into the break with a two goal and two man advantage.
Half-Time: Bacup 2-0 Bootle
Just before the two teams emerged back out onto the field for the second half, the central floodlight on the far side just went off, yes seriously, however the referee was fine with the game continuing, thank goodness.
Bacup got off to, or nearly got off to the worst possible start in the first half however got off to a completely opposite of starts to the second as they made it 3-0 inside the first minute of the half. It was another terrific goal and was again created by Dominic Marie, he blistered past his man down the far side and simply pulled it back to Yves Zama who was having another outstanding game coolly tucked it away into the bottom right corner to surely give the Borough the crucial win to stay alive.
This then sparked the away side to make a triple change, something you don’t see every day (apart from on fifa of course) and this gave Bootle some fresh legs and fresh energy to try and get amongst the 11 men of Bacup. When the visitors did get in behind, defenders such as Gareth Wager had to be alert and fully concentrated as he was in this instance as he positioned himself by the post and superbly blocked a goal bound shot.
Three minutes on from this gutsy block from the man who’s birthday it was this week Bacup scored a fourth goal. The Borough had a free-kick round about thirty yards out from goal in a central area and with Daniel Cocks shaped to take the free-kick, all in the ground presumed he was going to shoot however he played a disguised pass to the left to Dominic Marie who had pulled off inside the box into space and Marie did what he does best, he struck the ball hard and low and into the back of the net at the clubhouse end.
With the match now signed sealed and more or less delivered, credit where credits due the visitors dug in there and got one back just three minutes later. Tom Peterson flicked a cross from the right-hand side into the far bottom corner to give them hope of a comeback.
Josh Harris in the Borough goal may not have had lots to do in the course of the contest however he had to remain fully focused and this he clearly did as he denied a second Bootle goal with a brilliant fingertip save onto the underside of the crossbar which was eventually hooked away to safety.
As the home side held a two man advantage it was inevitable that they would still create chances with the amount of gaps starting to appear and substitute Matty Bryan drove down the right and fired in which the goalkeeper awkwardly palmed away only to Junaid Ashfaq 30 yards out who blasted one but again the goal keeper just saved the strike.
Matty Bryan’s introduction for the home side gave them an injection of pace at a time when legs start to get heavy and he nearly got himself on the score sheet after Cowderoy charged out and could only clear to Bryan who went for the half-volley first time but was headed off the line.
With a couple of minutes left on the watch the visitors got another one back through that man again Tom Peterson who in fact netted a hat-trick in the reverse fixture and his second goal this time was identical to his first, a flick at the near post into the far corner.
Full-Time: Bacup 4-2 Bootle
So it all comes down to the last game of the season away at Ashton Athletic on Saturday, the situation is simple, Bacup have to win by 2 or more goals to be safe.