Match Report: Bacup 3-3 St Helens

St Helens came into Town on the back of an impressive seven away wins out eight, looking to make it eight out of nine they hit the West View ground running which saw them storm into a three goal lead in a pulsating twelve minutes, it was fair to say Bacup wondered what had hit them.
From the off it was clear what the visitors game plan was to get the home side turning, this they did with five minutes on the clock when Stephen Rigby shot into the corner of the net from which Bacup keeper Peter Monteith could not do much about has he was clearly unsighted, from this it only took the visitors two minutes to double their lead  which shocked the Bacup faithful into total bewildered silence,  Bacup got caught for failing to put pressure on the ball at the half way line which offered the opportunity for the Saints to put the ball in behind the Bacup defence, it looked certain that Keeper Peter Monteith would clear the danger, this he would have done until a sudden hesitation gave Andrew Gillespie the Saints striker the advantage to slot the ball past Monteith to double their lead.
Bacup survived only another five minutes before conceeding yet again, this time the goal did come on a counter attack from a Bacup free kick at the edge of the St Helens Penalty area, this St Helens defended resulting in them sending the ball long up the pitch, Bacup had the chance to clear any potential danger but only helped increase the danger by failing to clear the ball which struck a St Helens player before falling kindly for Gillespie to finish.
With a quarter of the way into the game Bacup started to get a foothold in the game which on twenty six minutes resulted in the home side pulling a goal back, it started with Captain Shane Birtles making a positive run high up the pitch before delivering a wonderful cross for Matthew Barlow to head over the advancing Saints keeper into the net, from this moment Bacup started to use the ball and the pitch really well creating problems for St Helens and preventing them inflickting any more damage.
With six minutes to go to the half time break Bacup were really putting the Saints defence to the sword which did result in what the St Helens faithful feel was a contraversial decision from the referee to dismiss centre back Adam Lawrence, this came has a result of some excellent play from Bacup from which the lively impressive Anthony Hall was put through onto goal to be taken down by Lawrence, the fact that Hall was the last man resulted in a streight Red card to Adam Lawrence thus reducing the saints down to ten men.
Minutes later St Helens rearguard were in trouble again  following some impressive touch football involving Anthony Hall and Michael Gervin playing a nice weighted ball into the space for Matthew Barlow to finish well.
At this point Bacup really upped the anti and really could have done without the half time whistle arriving which sent the two sides in at the break with Bacup having reduced their deficit down to just one goal.
The second half got underway and it was no suprise that the visitors were left to defend for their lives with a constant flow of Bacup pressure, this resulted in Shane Birtles making a positive run into the box before being tripped which the Referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot, up stepped experienced Striker Matthew Barlow to slot the ball into the net, getting his side back on level terms and with this completing his hatrick.
The remaining of this half very much belong to Bacup to whom created chance after chance, how Bacup did not take the lead when Michael Gervin found Anthony Hall to whom had their keeper beaten only to see his goal bound effort somehow cleared off the line, credit must go to the Saints defender for his anticipation and getting back to prevent Bacup taking a certain lead.
Whilst Bacup did find themselves creating several opportunities which for one reason or another the ball could not find its way into the net, St Helens themselves were restricted to one effort in the second half which did take a wicked deflection to bring a stunning save from keeper Peter Monteith.
Final score Bacup 3  St Helens  3
Team Peter Monteith  Adrian Bellamy, Laquain Esdaille, Joss De Vries,  Shane Birtles, Josh Walne, Kelvin Trippier,Darcy O Connor, Michael Gervin, Matthew Barlow, Anthony Hall.
Subs Jordan Rutter, Martin Peters, Oluwatobi Olayemt. Yves Zama, Davison Banda.

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