Team: 1. Green 2. Bellamy 3. Bryan (Sub Finnigan) 4. Wager (c) 5. Esdaille 6. Flannery 7. Heap (Sub Cocks) 8. Oldham 9. Thompson 10. Clemons (Sub Birtles) 11. Hooper
Subs not used: Socha & Alderson
Bacup & Rossendale Borough impressively bounced back from the nightmare cup tie against Atherton Collieries with a gritty and determined win over ten man Congleton Town.
Manager Brent Peters made no fewer than five changes to his starting line-up with 18 year old goalkeeper Matthew Green making his debut for the Borough after recently arriving from Curzon Ashton.
After bad weather all over the country the game was always going to be touch and go but was declared fit and suitable to play by 10:30am on the day.
To be fair, it was suitable to play on but was quite a bit cut up down the flanks and in certain areas.
To the game then and after an early shot by Congleton’s Scott Sephton was well saved by the debutant young keeper, Bacup then started to up the pressure slightly with Flannery and Thompson both finding the target in quick succession but not threatening the goalkeeper. However in the seventh minute Adrian Bellamy spurned a superb chance to go one up as a pinpoint Matty Bryan corner found a completely unmarked Bellamy who heads wide. Nevertheless it was a positive start for the lads in pink who needed to bounce back strongly.
Both sides were attacking with numbers and creating plenty of chances and fifteen minutes had passed goalless but then the home side break down the right hand side, Michael Koral cuts inside and bends it towards the far corner which Matthew Green pulls off a terrific save to tip round the post.
Manager Brent Peters then realised something wasn’t quite right and made a change taking off Jonny Heap and bringing on club captain Daniel Cocks.
BARB striker Simon Thompson always looked dangerous once getting the ball up to him and after twenty five minutes a Gareth Wager clearance was taken down exquisitely by Thompson but powered his shot just over.
However, on the half hour mark came what was possibly the defining point in the game. The Congleton centre half had the ball under no pressure until Simon Thompson cleverly crept up and charged him down, blocked him, raced away and the goalkeeper Andrew Mills came out and wiped out Thompson which saw him receive a straight red card.
This then saw a massive flurry of chances for both sides as Matthew Worrall smashed agonizingly over and headed inches wide along with Brandon Moores who forced Green into another good save.
As for Bacup, Matty Bryan smashed a low shot just wide with his weaker right foot and another good Bryan delivery once again found an unmarked Bellamy who headed onto the post.
Half-Time: Congleton 0-0 BARB
The first chance of the half goes to Bacup and they couldn’t come any closer as Thompson again has two bites at the cherry and his second effort strikes the inside of the post again and goes across goal but somehow not in.
The game then saw less football being played and more niggles and stoppages in play occurring but after that ten man Congleton then started to crank up the pressure and Michael Koral gets played in but another top save from Green keeps the home goals at nil. With that pressure there was always the possibility of a break from BARB and they did so when a superb cross field pass by Laquan Esdaille finds Paul Hooper who’s strike was blocked by a last ditch wonder tackle.
As time was swiftly ticking on was a goal just not going to happen for either side as Congleton’s Daniel Bruce got slotted in behind, everyone stopped and watched his shot trickle just wide.
However there was to be one more pivotal and deciding moment in the match coming just ten minute from time as Daniel Cocks receives the ball with space in the centre of midfield and he then threads a lovely ball down the left hand side to Thompson who emphatically struck it sweetly into the far corner, superb finish.
BARB had to now hang on for the remaining ten minutes and who else would have the last say other than the impressive debutant goalkeeper Matthew Green who had to pull off one final save from Daniel Ting.
Full-Time: Congleton Town 0-1 Bacup & Rossendale Borough
A really impressive and much needed win for the Borough.
Now onto Saturday at home against West Didsbury & Chorlton.
Report by Jay Taylor