Bacup Borough finally managed to get the result that their recent performances have deserved, with a Lancashire Co-Operative Trophy victory against higher league opposition in the form of Evo Stik League outfit Radcliffe Borough. However they once again left their supporters with frayed nerves, having twice threatened to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
With one eye on the crucial memorial match with AFC Liverpool on Friday, manager Brent Peters left Daniel Cocks and Haydn Paul on the bench, whilst Gareth Wager was unavailable due to work commitments and Paul Arrowsmith was ineligible. David Limabrooke and Graham McKeown came in for their second starts of the season, whilst Boic Nhlizyo and Paul Nelson were recalled to the starting line-up.
Right from the start Bacup took the game to their higher division opponents, Nhlizyo firing wide after a fifth minute corner. The home side looked dangerous on set pieces, with Jamie Baguley demonstrating a sweet left foot from a free-kick that Ryan Jones did well to turn onto the bar. However, it was entirely in keeping with the pattern of play that Bacup took an 8th minute lead. Matthew Bryan received the ball on the left and then cut inside before sending a superb curling effort into the top corner that beat James Coates in the home goal all ends up. The visitors continued to enjoy the lions share of possession, Limabrooke going close with a header after a good cross from the right by Shane Birtles. Jones had to be off his line smartly on the quarter hour mark, denying Danny Shannon with a firm quarterback’s challenge outside the area that left the home player needing some treatment. Bryan had another effort from distance but for all their neat footwork and slick passing Bacup were not really making the home keeper work. They paid the price when Radcliffe equalised with only their second effort of the game, Odilon Kouemba firing home firmly from the edge of the area. Limabrooke almost replied immediately but Coates was equal to his well struck effort. HALF-TIME: Radcliffe Borough 1 Bacup Borough 1
Radcliffe made a couple of substitutions at half-time, bringing their team up to a full strength Evo Stik line-up. The changes saw them initially looking more of a threat, with one of the subs Danny Hudson drawing a good save from Jones at his near post in the 49th minute. Manager Brent Peters then shuffled his own pack, bringing on Cocks and Paul for McKeown and Nelson. Within a minute Cocks showed his sights were firmly set on goal, firing wide from the edge of the box. Kingsley Williams had been giving a robust display but over stepped the mark on 62 minutes to collect a booking. Eight minutes later another Birtles cross from the right was controlled and hammered goalwards by Cocks but the ball cannoned off the crossbar and was eventually cleared. At the other end the dangerous Hudson pulled clear of his marker but curled his effort narrowly wide. Paul then struck the woodwork for Bacup before Cocks found it for a third time with a superb 78th minute free-kick that struck the near post with Coates beaten. Cocks created another opening but drove over and then as the game entered the 90th minute Bacup forced a corner. The ball found its way to Kingsley Williams who hit the sweetest strike you will see on the half volley from outside the box and the ball flew past Coates into the bottom corner of the net. It was a strike worthy of winning any game but sadly Williams was to turn from hero to villain moments later. As Bacup tried to play out injury time Williams gave the ball away cheaply and Hudson made him pay with a crisp low drive that the despairing Jones could not get a hand to. The final whistle sounded moments later and we were in to a penalty shootout.
Radcliffe were to take first and Ben Wharton delivered a firm finish. Kingsley Williams then redeemed himself with a confident leveller. Danny Shannon stepped up for the home side but left with his head in his hands as his effort struck a post. Daniel Cocks, our regular penalty taker, made no mistake in giving Bacup the lead. Goalscorer Hudson then stepped up but Ryan Jones took centre stage to produce a fine one handed save to his left to increase Bacup’s advantage and then Boic Nhlizyo consolidated this with an assured finish. Captain Mark Jones then had to score to keep Radcliffe in the tie but he kept his calm to find the net. David Limabrooke then stepped up to win the tie but his effort down the middle was kept out by Coates. The pressure was still on Calvin Crooks as he walked up but he kept his nerve to level the scores at 3-3 and the pressure was now back on Bacup. Steve Maden was the man with the ball and his powerful run up saw him fire the ball past Coates and in the process fire Bacup Borough into the Quarter Finals. FULL-TIME: Radcliffe Borough 2 Bacup Borough 2 (Bacup Borough win 4-3 on penalties).
BACUP BOROUGH: Jones, Birtles, Bryan, Kirk, Gorman, Nhlizyo, McKeown (sub. Paul 52 mins.), Kingsley Williams, Limabrooke, Maden, Nelson (sub. Cocks 57 mins.). Unused Subs: Maine, Socha, Aoun. Attendance: 103.
MATCH STATS: SHOTS ON TARGET: Radcliffe Borough 4 Bacup Borough 3 SHOTS OFF TARGET: Radcliffe Borough 3 Bacup Borough 9 CORNERS: Radcliffe Borough 1 Bacup Borough 8
Interesting Fact: Steve Maden is the only ever present in the Borough squad this season.