Match Report: North West Counties Leagud Division 1 Play Off Final.

Barnton 2- Bacup Borough -0  AET.

It took an extra time goal Eight minutes into the first period of extra time and a stunning save in the second period of extra time from the Barnton keeper Richard Mottram to separate these two sides and with it summoning Bacup to another season in Division one.

Make no mistake Bacup’s journey to this play off final was creditably achieved against all odds, having to play catch up due to the affects of the recent floods and wintery weather, leaving the team to play their last ten games in twenty nine days, in addition missing several key players along the way, this final was no exception as missing from the squad was the Semi Final Goal Scorer Matthew Dell, Striker Yves Zama, Midfield player Arran Kirk and Captain Shane Birtles,  despite all this adversity Bacup travelled to Barnton and gave it a real go for one last push.

During the first half it was Barnton that looked the more threatening, it was during this period that a coming together between the Bacup Goal keeper Josh Harris and a Barnton forward did result in the Bacup stopper playing through the game from this moment on with a broken metatarsal, neither side carved out any clear openings in what proved to be a first half with both defences well on top.

The second half with Bacup kicking down the slope, the valley side started to play the football they have been accustomed to all season, they started to shorten their game up and with this controlled long periods of possession but they came up against a strong defencive unit well marshaled by Michael Burke and Captain Kevin Pollard resulting in little opportunities, whilst at the opposite end of the pitch Barnton themselves were reduced to one first time effort that went well wide of the Bacup goal,  with the clock ticking down and extra time looking more likely both sides seemed to get a little nervy in order not to concede a late goal which would send one of the sides out, both got through this point and extra time it was.

Bacup made one change prior to the start of the first period of Extra Time with Jordan Rutter replacing the impressive Kyle Hendly due to an injury.

The first period got under way very much of the same has previous with both sides defending stoutly, this until eight minutes in the first period of Extra Time when Bacup’s Right full back Davison Banda took an extra touch resulting in a rushed clearance which struck his opponent with the ball coming back towards his goal, if this was unfortunate what happened next was for the first time in the match bad defending, the ball comes across from right to left, Left Back Matthew Bryan had chance to clear the ball but inexplicably let the ball run across him, where a Barnton player was making his way onto the ball which was then lofted over to the far post, where the Barnton player attacked bundling the ball into the net, with the deadlock now broken following the break of the first period of extra time, Bacup changed their shape and did go all out for the equalizer,  with only minutes left on the clock and Bacup with several players forward, Barnton got the ball clear but only has far has twenty yards out with the ball landing at the feet of Captain for the day Adrian Bellamy who then with so much composure struck the ball sweetly which was heading for their keepers top right hand corner, it seemed a goal all of the way but the Barnton Keeper Richard Mottram athletically dived to his right and with this produced such a stunning save, ensuring his sides slender goal was in check and preventing penalties,  it was right on the full time whistle with Bacup throwing all caution to the wind that they got undone, gifting the home side the chance to double their lead and with it, send their side into the North West Counties Premier Division.

As for Bacup Borough whilst they have not on this occasion secured a promotion place, they most certainly can hold their heads high following an excellent season under extremely difficult circumstances.

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