Bacup Borough made new ground in this fixture, the first time both teams had ever met, if for the historic reason everyone looked forward to this trip, on viewing their playing surface which made most municipal park pitches look special, one wondered if this would have a detrimental effect on the visitors performance and scoring ability, certainly in the opening twenty minutes when Bacup had four clear opportunities but failed to break the deadlock it most certainly looked this way.
Manager Brent Peters in his pre match address to the players warned of any complacency based upon Whitchurch Alports past results and in his words demanded nothing but a professional performance, in the main this is what he got, following the opening minutes from which Whitchurch started in determined mood, but once the game settled, the outcome was never in doubt, in fact Whitchurch Alport can be thankful that it was not double figures, a score line it could and maybe should have been.
Bacup’s first chance came with the home side playing an high defensive wall, which Bacup time after time exploited in behind with clever runs, Jordan Rutter finding his mid field team mate Kelvin Trippier to whom had made the run in behind but he shot wide of the post, if this was not a warning to Whitchurch it should have been, as so many times Bacup exploited this and constantly got themselves into goal scoring positions.
Whitchurch conceded a free kick deep into their half on ten minutes, which Bacup took quickly, Captain Shane Birtles made a positive run to the bye line before putting the ball onto Trippiers head, but his header was wide of the goal, whilst it was a good timed run it was a bad miss and one wondered if this was going to be one of those games, especially when minutes later Birtles again with a good run and delivery found Matthew Barlow who also blazed over from close range.
It all changed on twenty three minutes when last week’s hatrick hero Anthony Hall made a positive run before turning the full back, pulling the ball back for Barlow to finish, minutes later Barlow brought a good block from their keeper when Michael Gervin made an excellent weighted diagonal ball which Anthony hall received, before producing great trickery feet before sliding in Barlow from which the Whitchurch keeper came out, made himself big just has Barlow was shooting at goal, it was constant flow of Bacup attacking but still with only one goal to show and not helped when on the half hour mark Bacup had the ball in the net from Birtles following a late run, but with Barlow in an off side position, although he did not engage but the assistant Linesman flagged, the Referee and the Assistant Linesman had a discussion with the outcome being the goal ruled out.
Further chances came Bacup Boroughs way with Anthony Hall bringing the best out of the Whitchurch keeper tipping the ball over for a corner which was defended, before both Matthew Barlow and Michael Gervin did have further opportunities.
With the clock ticking down taking us to the half time break Bacup’s Jordan Rutter spotted a gap between a ruck of players, from which he slotted the ball through with Gervin advancing he latched onto the pass before doubling his sides lead.
Whitchurch Alport had a great opportunity to reduce the deficit right on half time when Rutter committed a foul some thirty yards from the Bacup goal, it was a well struck free kick which Bacup’s keeper Josh Harris tipped onto the cross bar which was eventually cleared of any danger.
At the opposite side of the half time break the deficit was reduced when first of all Shane Birtles failed to clear an header, which from this Laquan Esdaile failed to connect with the ball gifting Daniel Tinsley an opportunity, who made no mistake with a clinical finish into the corner of the net giving Josh Harris no chance of saving.
This was as good has it got for Whitchurch not helped also when they were reduced to ten men when Stefan Hollidays frustration got the better of him which resulted in a second yellow.
Bacup Boroughs young lively Anthony Hall got a hatrick in his last game and really should have had another one in this game, when three times he was through one v one with their goalkeeper but experience against in experience was the winner on the day in this personal dual.
It was Anthony Hall that did win Bacup a free kick which was taken quickly for Jordan Rutter to score his first goal for the club since his move from Maine Road.
Matthew Bryan played his final part in the game before being replaced by Josh Walne, when he did well against two players before getting in behind the Whitchurch defence and passing to the advancing Michael Gervin for his second goal of the game. Further opportunities presented themselves when Tobi to whom had replaced Anthony Hall did put through Gervin for his chance to secure an hatrick, but his deft chip over the keeper failed to drop and chance had gone. Bacup did secure their fifth following a good deep run from Kelvin Trippier to get on the end of an excellent weighted ball to finish well eradicating the earlier miss in the first half.
This was an important three points for Bacup having taken nine from their last three matches, scoring thirteen goals and conceding one goal, promotion form indeed.
Josh Harris, Shane Birtles, Laquan Esdaile, Adrian Bellamy, Matthew Bryan ( Josh Walne) Michael Gervin ( Davison Banda), Kelvin Trippier, Arron Kirk, Jordan Rutter, Anthony Hall ( Tobi) Matthew Barlow.
Subs not used Jos De -vries, Nicky Taylor.