Bacup Borough Football Club
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Borough Give Bryan Fitting Memorial

BACUP BOROUGH 1 AFC LIVERPOOL 0

In front of their biggest crowd of the season at West View, Bacup produced a gritty performance on a poignant night to give the majority of the crowd at this memorial fixture the win they wanted. Before the game the family and friends of Bryan Herbert, Alice Peters, Tom Stevens, Lydia Sutcliffe and Maureen Briggs assembled in the centre circle with the players for the minutes silence. The 96 who died at Hillsborough and those serveicemen and women who have given their lives for their country were also remembered. The silence was, as they say, deafening.

It was now time to turn our attention to football. Manager Brent Peters brought in new signing Adam Dawson for his debut and Daniel Cocks was also recalled to the starting line-up after starting on the bench against Radcliffe Borough on Tuesday. David Limabrooke kept his place up front, with Haydn Paul on the bench. These sides managed just one goal between them in 210 minutes of football in the FA Carlsberg Vase earlier this season and so it was no surprise that another tight battle ensued. AFC had the first hint of an opening when Shaun Harris attempted to lift the ball over Ryan Jones but the home stopper stayed tall and caught the ball. At the other end Shane Birtle drove wide after a surging run, whilst Dawson’s 23rd minute goalbound drive was blocked by the defence. It was an even battle and Peter Doran went close for the visitors with his first time effort two minutes later. Following a 25th minute corner Kingsley Williams saw his initial effort blocked and Boic Nhlizyo hooked over.

Darrel Hale went very close for AFC with an effort that was deflected around the post for a corner but Matthew Bryan went even closer when his cross from the left deceived keeper Shaun Lakey and struck the crossbar with him beaten. 8 minutes before the break Birtles went down in the box but the referee waved away the Borough appeals whilst the last meaningful action of the first period saw Dawson receive a great through ball into the penalty area only for him to fire inches wide in his search for a debut goal. HALF-TIME: Bacup Borough 0 AFC Liverpool 0

There were no changes at half-time from either side and again AFC had the first chance with Harris  heading over. However, in the 61st minute David Limabrooke was pulled down on the edge of the area. After checking that it was indeed inside the box, referee Barry Lamb pointed to the spot despite protests from the visitors. Team captain Cocks kept his cool to slot home his tenth goal of the season to give Bacup the lead. Bacup were now looking stronger and Cocks again went close on 69 minutes, whilst Otis Gorman bundled the ball wide  moments later. Paul joined the action to replace the hard working Limabrooke and in the 82nd minute he fed Cocks whose almost perfect finish struck the crossbar and rebounded to safety. Cocks returned the favour to Paul as the game approached added time but he was denied by a last gasp block. AFC pressed for an equaliser but the final action of the game saw Cocks roll his free-kick to Dawson, whose attempted chip was held by Lakey. So, a vital win for Bacup that lifts them a place in the table and gives them breathing space from the struggle at the foot of the table. On the evidence of recent performances they should now be able to push on from this and attain the league position that their recent performances have deserved. FULL-TIME: Bacup Borough 1 AFC Liverpool 0 

Bacup Borough: Jones, Birtles, Bryan, Kirk, Gorman, Nhlizyo, Dawson, Kingsley Williams, Limabrooke (sub. Paul 74 mins), Maden, Cocks. Subs Not Used: McKeown, Arrowsmith, Nelson, Aoun. Attendance: 126.

MATCH STATS: SHOTS ON TARGET: Bacup Borough 4 AFC Liverpool 6  SHOTS OFF TARGET: Bacup Borough 5 AFC Liverpool 5 CORNERS: Bacup Borough 7 AFC Liverpool 7