SQUIRES GATE 0 BACUP BOROUGH 2
Bacup gained their first points on the road this season with a win that was far more comprehensive than the 2-0 scoreline suggests. Brent Peters brought in new signing from Glossop North End Aaron Kirk for his debut in the No. 10 shirt, whilst Ryan Jones returned to the club on loan to don the goalkeepers jersey. Boic Nhlizyo was preferred in the starting line-up to Shaun Williams, who moved to the bench.
The game started in swirling conditions of rain and wind, with the handful of spectators trying to find a dry vantage point where they could escape from the conditions. Borough dominated the early exchanges and in the 5th minute Shane Birtles dangerous cross needed to be dealt with by Neil Beesley in the home goal, who was to have a busy night. Two minutes later the home keeper easily held Steve Maden’s low effort, whilst the first action at the other end saw the impressive Isaac Kusaloka shoot on the turn only to see a deflection take all the sting out of the ball. A minute later Ryan Tanser fed Kusaloka again, this time the striker stabbing his effort wide. On 17 minutes a good break down the left ended with Nhlizyo’s effort being held by Beesley. As the rain eased up Bacup were passing the ball around nicely and Haydn Paul saw his fierce drive from close range tipped over the crossbar by Beesley. Squires Gate were largely restricted to pot shots at this stage, although with one of them Tanser went very close in the 23rd minute. Two minutes on from that Nhlizyo fed Daniel Cocks who fired wide across the face of goal when he looked odds on to score. A 27th minute corner from the home side caused momentary panic in the box before the ball was eventually hoofed to safety. In the 29th minute Paul appeared to have broken clear but a defender got back to get an important touch. Nhlizyo was showing some delightful touches on the ball and linked up well again with Cocks, this time with the captain firing over. It was Nhlizyo himself who had the ball in the net on 33 minutes, but a linesmans flag for offside denied him his first goal for the club. Maden was still finding his shooting range as he shot over whilst Jones was called into action for the first time to rectify his own mistake. He came off his line well to deny Kusaloka after he had initially gifted possession to the feet of Joe Shelmerdine. However moments later Borough had the lead they deserved. Kirk’s effort rebounded off a post and Joe Edwards was on hand to superbly drill home his first goal for the club since arriving on loan from Oldham Athletic. There was still time before the break for Tanser to drive dangerously across the box for the home side but Bacup held on to preserve their interval lead. HALF-TIME: Squires Gate 0 Bacup Borough 1
The second half started with Borough looking even more in control, Cocks going close with a 57th minute free-kick. As the home side began to become frustrated Jamie Nay was shown a yellow card for a late challenge. Another long range effort from Maden again found Beesley equal to it, tipping over the bar, whilst a good low drive from Kirk was also dealt with efficiently by the stopper. Gate were under siege and made a triple substitution in the 67th minute to alter their shape and with it the dynamics of the match as it became a more even affair from that point on. In the 70th minute Beesley produced another save to deny Paul and the home sides efforts were made harder five minutes later when Sam Farrow was sent off for a second yellow after raising an arm. Kinglsey Williams fired over for Borough and in the 82nd minute a great tackle from Lee Baker denied Paul. An 84th minute free-kick from Shelmerdine caused mayhem in the visitors defence before the ball was eventually cleared off the line. In the other goal Beesley collected a booking for pushing Cocks over, whilst as the game entered injury time Kusaloka’s scrambled effort was dealt with by Jones. However Bacup’s fraying nerves were eased as Beesley finally made a mistake in an otherwise impressive display, messing up a clearance which allowed Cocks to score with a sublime chip over the stranded keeper which secured the win that lifts Borough to 14th place in the North West Counties League Premier Division table. FULL-TIME: Squires Gate 0 Bacup Borough 2
BACUP BOROUGH: Jones, Birtles, Edwards, Wager, Gorman, Maden, Cocks, Kingsley Williams, Paul (sub. Dale 89 mins), Kirk, Nhlizyo (sub. Shaun Williams 90 mins). Subs Not Used: Bennett, Maine, Nelson. Attendance: 36.
MATCH STATS: SHOTS ON TARGET: Squires Gate 4 Bacup Borough 9 SHOTS OFF TARGET: Squires Gate 6 Bacup Borough 8 CORNERS: Squires Gate 3 Bacup Borough 5