Bacup Borough Football Club
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Luker’s Late Strike Too Little Too Late For Borough


Borough exited the FA Cup with Budweiser after the proverbial ‘game of two halves’ at a wet Brantingham Road yesterday afternoon, with Bacup largely in control of the first half whilst the hosts dominated the second. As has been the case in most games this season, though, our opposition made the most of their periods of possession wheras Borough were once again profligate with their finishing.

Despite the torrential downpours both preceeding and during the game, the pitch at Maine Road was in excellent condition and had no bearing on the outcome of the game. Manager Brent Peters kept faith with the starting line-up that had delivered the first points of the season against AFC Blackpool on Wednesday, meaning that there was no place in the starting eleven for the returning Kingsley Williams. Haydn Paul also appeared on the bench for the first time this season.

Both teams had early chances from free-kicks to test the oppostion keeper but a pattern soon developed of Bacup dominating, as shown by the first half corner tally of five to none in the visitors favour. However, after Eddie Moran had moments earlier blazed wide from a good postion, the home side took almost took the lead against the run of play in the 23rd minute. Moran was again involved, this time feeding Matty Warburton whose firm strike produced an excellent one handed save from Paul Horridge in the Borough goal. Bacup continued to enjoy the lions share of possession but the final ball always lacked the cutting edge, Davey Luker spurning another corner chance on 25 minutes when he headed straight into the arms of Greg Hall. Three minutes later Bacup were again masters of their own undoing as a failure to clear the ball properly following a routine attack from the home side saw the ball fall loose to the feet of  Tom Bailey, who made no mistake in drilling it home from the edge of the area. Peters was forced to shuffle his pack as Shane Birtles injury saw Shaun Williams join the fray, and as Borough pressed for the levller Boic Nhlizyo saw his well struck effort held by Hall. The home keeper also did well to gather cleanly under some pressure from Adam Dale following yet another Bacup corner in the 39th minute and the half ended with, you’ve guessed it, another visitors corner that came to nothing. HALF-TIME: Maine Road 1 Bacup Borough 0

The home side were back on the pitch early after the break, a clear signal that their management were less than happy with their first half display. They certainly upped their game in the second 45 and three minutes after the restart  Horridge did well to tip Neil Chappel’s snapshot over the crossbar. Following two more home corners Warburton combined well with Andy Kilheeney who fired narrowly wide. Shortly after Scott Byrom joined the action for Nhlizyo and in the 62nd minute Daniel Cocks, who had a quiet game, saw his free-kick whistle just wide of Hall’s left hand post. Tom Bailey almost added his and Maine Road’s second with a deflected effort before the home bench pulled off something of a tactical masterstroke in sending on Tom Bentham and Jerome Bryson. Bryson it was who sent in a long 78th minute ball that was powerfully headed to the net by Bentham to give the home side a seemingly unassailable lead. However, there was still time for Borough to threaten a comeback as Luker’s powerful drive took a slight deflection on its way into the back of the net three minutes from time. Bacup then threw the kitchen sink at their opponents, with Paul Horridge even going forward for a free-kick. The ball whizzed across the face of the sky blues penalty area but nobody was able to apply the finishing touch and so its Maine Road who travel to face Warrington Town in the First Qualifying Round on September 8th. FULL-TIME: Maine Road 2 Bacup Borough 1

Bacup Borough: Horridge, Wager, Stanley (sub. Paul 75 mins), McLaren, Gorman, Luker, Birtles (sub. Shaun Williams 29 mins), Maden, Dale, Nhlizyo (sub. Byrom 54 mins), Cocks. Subs Not Used: Butorins, Clapham, Maine, Kingsley Williams. Attendance: 69.

MATCH STATS: SHOTS ON TARGET: Maine Road 4 Bacup Borough 4  SHOTS OFF TARGET: Maine Road 6 Bacup Borough 3  CORNERS: Maine Road 4 Bacup Borough 7