BACUP BOROUGH 0 AFC LIVERPOOL 1
Despite throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at their visitors in the last third of the game, it was a solitary 27th minute strike from Lee Madin that ultimately settled this FA Carlsberg Vase tie to send AFC Liverpool off to face Askern Villa in the Second Qualifying Round. Manager Brent Peters made two changes from Saturday’s draw at Valerie Park, with fit again Shane Birtles coming in for Scott Byrom. With Borough looking for a more attacking formation at home Adam Dale started in place of Boic Nhlizyo, who went on the bench, whilst Ian Nelson and Craig Bennett made their home debuts.
There was plenty to entertain the healthy crowd, including a strong visiting contingent, right from the off. As with Saturday Bacup started the brighter and forced a couple of early corners, although Dale snatched at his 8th minute effort producing no power in his drive. Four minutes later Artjoms Butorins sent in a decent effort narrowly wide from distance. Again as with Saturday AFC weathered the early storm and started to come back strongly. John Lawless curled a fifteenth minute effort narrowly wide and then following more pressure from a corner Paul Horridge took down Lawless and unlike our own clear penalty appeal on Saturday, this time the referee pointed to the spot. Lawless dusted himself down to step up to the plate but Horridge redeemed himself with a superb save at full stretch down to his right to deny the diminutive striker the opener. Play was now end to end, with Matthew Kasbarian looking unconvincing when turning Steve Maden’s effort around the post for a Borough corner. Then, following a 27th minute throw-in, Lee Madin for the visitors weaved his way through the Bacup defence before coolly slotting home for a calm finish. Although Borough now started to press they had Horridge to thank in the 39th minute when he kept out James Buckley’s well struck effort., whilst a minute later Butorins couldn’t quite find the target with his header. The closest Bacup came, though, was two minutes before the break when Kingsley Williams let loose a powerful effort that rattled the post with Kasbarian for once beaten. HALF-TIME: Bacup Borough 0 AFC Liverpool 1
The second half saw Bacup pushing hard for the equaliser and four minutes after the restart Maden made Kasbarian work with a low drive down to the keepers right. AFC were still posing problems on the break and the dangerous Lawless again produced a good save from Horridge with his 53rd minute snapshot. Daniel Hand for the visitors then picked up the first booking of the night. Haydn Paul replaced Butorins as Brent Peters and Andy Hill rolled the dice again and shortly afterwards they added Shaun Williams for Bennett, who had a quieter game than Saturday. The corner count continued to mount for the home side and AFC had Kasbarian to thank for keeping them ahead after a fine 71st minute double save to deny Dale at point blank range. Daniel Cocks picked up a 73rd minute booking for a late challenge but although robust the game was largely good tempered. In what was by now a rare attack for the visitors on 75 minutes, Hand fed Ryan Wilkinson but he blazed over. With ten minutes left on the clock Cocks sent in a rasping effort that was tipped over the bar by Kasbarian and a minute later the same player sent a ball flashing across the face of goal. It was now all Bacup and five minutes from time Haydn Paul curled an effort agonisingly wide of the far post. It was Paul who was to have the final effort of the game during injury time, but he scooped his effort over and with that chance went Borough’s Wembley dreams. FULL-TIME: Bacup Borough 0 AFC Liverpool 1
Bacup Borough: Horridge, Birtles, Nelson, Wager, Gorman, Maden, Bennett (sub. Shaun Williams 58 mins), Kingsley Williams, Butorins (sub. Paul 54 mins), Dale, Cocks. Subs Not Used: Maine, Nhlizyo, Byrom. Attendance: 65.
MATCH STATS: SHOTS ON TARGET: Bacup Borough 8 AFC Liverpool 7 SHOTS OFF TARGET: Bacup Borough 5 AFC Liverpool 7 CORNERS: Bacup Borough 15 AFC Liverpool 5