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Match Reports: Ashton Athletic and Alsager Town

Bacup Borough’s goal keeping crisis proves pivotal, as they lose back to back games against Premier League Ashton Athletic and Alsager Town.
By Matthew Lawson

In the build-up to Thursday’s long-awaited Macron Cup fixture away at Ashton Athletic, manager Brent Peters was dealt a cruel blow on the eve of the game when Goal Keeper Karl Price was detained in hospital needing emergency surgery on a dislocated finger, whilst under normal circumstances Peters usually has a richness of luxuries when it comes to registered Goal Keepers but Joshua Harris is still fighting injuries sustained back in September and with the recent Sickness and flu epidemic hitting the club and no provisions in the competition rules to sign an emergency Goal Keeper, the Bacup Manager had to turn to his Cup Winning Keeper Paul Horridge.

Peters turned to the veteran goal keeper and member of his 2011/2012 cup winning side, Understandably, this was a tough challenge for Horridge, as he had not played competitively since the cup triumph 5 years ago.

Borough were unlucky not to have taken the lead after 20 seconds at Ashton, when Matty Bryan fired wide after a great ball over the top. Within seconds of this attack Borough found themselves one nil down after a quick counter. Borough were back on level terms soon after Si Thompson found Bryan with an inch perfect pass and the striker did the rest.
Late on in the half Ashton restored their lead and the game finished 2-1 at half time.

Going into the second half Horridge rolled back the years with some key saves, as the tie progressed Borough legs tired and as hard as they fought the Premier League outfit took their chance as well, and added four unanswered goals.
The score line does not reflect the game, as Borough created chances, Bryan, Bellamy and Thompson all came close for Borough. Although this finished 6-1, it could have easily been 6-6.

As Bacup prepared for their second game in three days, Peters did not have a fit goal keeper. This time Steve Mainwaring, of Rossendale FC, provided the help and allowed Johnathan Heap to step in. Not a natural goal keeper, Heap provided his services in Borough’s time of need. Manager, Brent Peters, was full of praise at full time and was quoted saying, “Jonny Heap was fantastic, and can’t be blamed for the goals conceded in today’s game”.

Bacup took the lead inside 5 minutes, after Richard Walker picked out Matty Bryan who rounded the keeper and slotted home. However, at half time, Bacup Borough saw themselves trail 2 goals to 1.

The second half began in similar fashion for Borough, they could have been level through Ben Rhodes if it wasn’t for a great block from the Alsager defender. As the second half wore on, Bacup failed to adapt to the deteriorating pitch, the visitors added three goals in 15 minutes.
Shortly after the hour mark, captain Adrian Bellamy pulled a goal back for the hosts, after smashing home from close range to the keepers’ near post. Following this Peters moved the centre half up front and he could have had his second, as he went for power rather than precision and put the ball over the bar.

The game ended 5-2 in favour of Alsager but Bacup can look at the defeat and pick out the positives ahead of the home fixture against Cheadle Town.