Team: 1. Jakovlevs 2. Cosgrave (Sub Crook) 3. L. Morgan 4. Zubar 5. Tayo 6. Crooks 7. McKenzie 8. Currie 9. Plummer (Sub Wright) 10. W. Morgan (Sub Jones) 11. Bryan (c)
Subs not used: Brown
On the back of two really bad starts Bacup & Rossendale Borough made it third time not so lucky with two individual mistakes away to AFC Liverpool.
Manager Brent Peters made no fewer than six changes to Monday night’s loss at Maine Road. Wayne Morgan, Shaun Plummer, Omar McKenzie and Nathan Tayo were all given starts. Luke Morgan played his first game for the Borough in a year after being away in America and defender Calvin Crooks was making his debut.
Going away to a top side like AFC Liverpool it was always going to be difficult but it makes it even tougher when key players are missing and we had no recognised central defenders to choose from. Adrian Bellamy was suspended, Laquan Esdaille as well as Craig Meadowcroft were unavailable and Yves Zama has still not recovered from the horrendous tackle on him against West Didsbury & Chorlton last week.
That being said you can’t make bad decisions so early on in the game and that is what Luke Morgan did. Yes he did well to intercept the ball but then he went into an area that he shouldn’t have and lost the ball, the reds broke and Ryan Cox smashed in low off the inside of the post.
Just five minutes later and it was two with another poor individual error. James Robinson ran down the right channel but Nathan Tayo originally did well as he came across and was too strong for Robinson. However after winning back the ball he dawdled, failed to clear and Robinson nicked in and scored.
You know how Cheryl Cole sang the song Crazy Stupid Love, well this was quite simply Crazy Stupid Goals!
After we got through our dreaded first ten minutes we started to calm down, get on the ball and put the home side under some pressure. Captain for the day Matty Bryan delivered two crosses from the left wing but no one was there to challenge. It took twenty minutes for BARB to record their first shot, Tom Currie smelt a counter-attack as he brought the ball out from deep then set Omar McKenzie away who ran beyond two, checked inside but his shot fizzed well wide.
Just eight minutes later they hit the target for the first time through debutant Calvin Crooks whose strike from range was straight into the chest of keeper Ryan Jones.
When going forward Shaun Plummer and Omar McKenzie were linking up well with some nice touches, it was just finding that killer pass to create a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Liverpool were still obviously a threat when going forward as Steven Williams got in behind but he sliced way over. Bacup stopper Callum Jakovlevs was once again making some top class saves to keep them in the game.
Approaching half-time and the Borough had one final chance on 37 minutes as Tom Currie capitalized on a loose ball and charged through bodies and was brought down right on the edge of the box. Omar McKenzie who scored a magnificent free-kick a couple of weeks ago against Congleton couldn’t repeat this as he bent it comfortably over the crossbar.
Half-Time: AFC Liverpool 2-0 Bacup
Bacup should have been back in the game just three minutes into the half with some really good play. A lovely touch inside by Jones found Matty Bryan who threaded a through ball to Shaun Plummer who struck well but it was just off target.
A few minutes later and they came even closer to getting back in it through some more good football. Matty Bryan again got his head up and played in David Jones whose first touch was a tad heavy but his namesake in goal for Liverpool Ryan Jones who actually used to play for Bacup was out like a shot and made himself big to block the shot from point blank range. It was a terrific save and you felt that it just changed the game. Could have very easily been a level game after these two big chances.
BARB were playing well and would have to say were the better team in this half but they just needed to take the chances to set up a grandstand finish. Also they were getting into some really good positions in the final third but they were just taking too long to make up their mind of what they wanted to do.
The killer third goal for the reds came on 74 minutes as a corner was somehow flicked in at the near post by Nathan Valentine.
This was certainly harsh on Bacup and the score line did flatter AFC Liverpool in the end.
If BARB weren’t already short on numbers, they had to play the final few minutes with ten men after Crooks couldn’t continue and all three substitutes had been made.
Full-Time: AFC Liverpool 3-0 Bacup & Rossendale Borough
After the match manager Brent Peters was quick to praise his players.
“I was quick to praise the debut performance of Calvin Crooks, I was also quick to compliment Tom Currie who never stopped and covered every single blade of grass. Also Shaun Plummer had a job to do against a difficult full-back and he worked hard however we cannot give our opposition a two goal lead inside the first seven minutes against a top side that’s up there. I still feel that we were unlucky not to get something from the game.”