David Gray’s third goal in as many games was not enough to prevent Bacup losing their grip on the League Challenge Cup that they had won last May. The First Division leaders proved themselves to be easily up to the level they are aspiring to step up to and on this form they will be a real force to be reckoned with in the Premier Division next season.
Manager Brent Peters made three changes from the side that had started at the Reebok, all enforced. Luke Morgan will be out for several weeks after collecting a hamstring injury in that game, whilst Team Captain Daniel Cocks was deemed not to be able to last 90 minutes and instead went on the bench. Darren Evans was unavailable due to work commitments. Coming into the side were Adam Turner, making his debut since his return, Shane Birtles and Dave Limabrooke.
Formby started the game looking confident on the ball and building from the back by spraying passes around, with Mikey White dominant at the back. However Borough had the first chance on five minutes when Birtles ball was just too strong for Lee Oldham to get on to. At the other end Connor Belger tested Ryan Jones, who was to have a busy night. On 15 minutes Kieron Brislen found space clear on the left but he skewed the ball wide across the face of goal when he really should have hit the target. If Bacup had seen the warning signs they failed to heed them as White was allowed time on the ball to break forward and unleash an unstoppable 25 yard strike that beat Jones all end up into the top corner. Still the chances continued for the visitors and three minutes later the dangerous Emini Adegbenro waltzed through before firing narrowly wide. Boroughs response was sporadic at best as they were mainly being penned in their own half, although it took a defenders last gasp challenge to deny Limabrooke on 22 minutes. It was somewhat against the run of play, then, when Turners superb 36th minute through ball fed Gray who coolly slotted home underneath Joshua O’Connell to level the scores. The in-form striker had another chance four minutes later after being played in by Limabrooke but this time he failed to find the target. As Borough finally found a bit of momentum a good passing movement between Limabrooke and Oldham set up Arron Kirk who drove wide. HALF-TIME: Bacup Borough 1 Formby 1
Peters needed to stop the visitors controlling midfield and shuffled his pack at the break, bringing on Martin Cosgrave for Kirk. The change of shape worked and the second half was a very even affair. Gray again had the first serious chance of the half, firing inches wide on 56 minutes. A minute later he again tested O’Connell with a shot on the turn but the Formby stopper was up to it. He had to produce his best save of the match ten minutes later when his agility at the near post prevented Limabrooke from giving the home side the lead. The next ten minutes saw Formby again dominant, forcing a series of corners. However, this time Bacup weathered the storm and at the other end Oldham again tested O’Connell on 78 minutes. With time running out Matty Bryan almost won it for Borough but his free-kick shaved O’Connell’s left hand post. Before extra-time Paul Arrowsmith joined the fray for the tiring Limabrooke. FULL-TIME: Bacup Borough 1 Formby 1
Extra time started with Formby taking a 95th minute lead. Adegbenro broke clear on the left and for once the prolific Jason Carey had shaken off his marker and had the simple task of slotting home under Jones. Peters gambled on the not fully fit Cocks, bringing him on for Karl Stanley, who had stuck to his task admirably. On 108 minutes O’Connell was finally beaten by a superb strike from Cosgrave but unfortunately the ball cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and back into play. HALF TIME ET: Bacup Borough 1 Formby 2
The second period of extra-time saw both teams dead on their feet with the only action of note being a fracas in the top corner of the ground that saw Daniel Cocks apparently pushed to the ground by a Formby defender but only a yellow card was shown. The final whistle sounded and Borough were left to reflect on a week that had promised so much but in the end had only produced two cup exits. Peters must now find a way to lift his troops for three important league games in the next 6 days as they look to move clear of the foot of the table and achieve the comfortable position that the talent in the squad clearly merits. FULL-TIME ET: Bacup Borough 1 Formby 2
BACUP BOROUGH: Jones, Wager, Bryan, A. Turner, Butorins, Stanley (sub. Cocks 95 mins), Birtles, Gray, Oldham, Kirk (sub. Cosgrave 45 mins), Limabrooke (sub. Arrowsmith 84 mins). Subs Not Used: Nelson, Howorth. Attendance: 43.
MATCH STATS: SHOTS ON TARGET: Bacup Borough 6 Formby 11 SHOTS OFF TARGET: Bacup Borough 11 Formby 13 CORNERS: Bacup Borough 1 Formby 10
Man of the Match: (Chosen by Match Sponsors Stanley Jacks Limited Plumbing & Heating) – Gareth Wager. Gareth is seen below receiving his award.