Bacup Borough boss Brent Peters spoke to us after the narrow 2-1 loss to league leaders Maine Road on Saturday: “I am really gutted for my players having come away from this game with nothing. This said I am also really proud of them. We went into this game with several changes I decided to make,and also a different shape to what we had recently been playing. From a Managers point of view when one spends time considering all options, team personnel and game plan and then from this the selected team take their instructions on board and from this dictate all the early play and score a well worked goal that did come as a result of their instructions was pleasing indeed. However, despite taking an early lead what was not legislated for was that the Referee would have a major outcome on this game and with only twenty four minutes on the clock we were reduced to ten men. I think both his yellow cards were harsh, what happened with the first yellow card or should I say what did not happen is encouraging players to go down easy in the box. Shane made an excellent run into the box and the defender mistimed his attempt to push the ball away, this making contact with Shane. At this point a penalty should have been awarded, the fact it was not was due to Shane Birtles stumbling and trying to keep on his feet, the no attempt to win the ball was enough in my opinion to award the penalty, the lad managing to initially stay on his feet is irrelevant, also the contact was enough in stopping him doing any further damage. Eventually Shane did go down as his momentum carried him over, the ball was cleared, no penalty claims or diving was made from either set of players, yet the official first chance he got was to stop play and book the lad.” Peters added “From now going forward all my players will be instructed to go down with the slightest touch, it does not pay to stay on ones feet”.
” Shane’s second yellow I would say it depends on ones interpretation so that I will not hold against the official. There is no doubt the sending off disrupted us as we had to re organise players which affected the ones likely to hurt the opposition at the top end of the pitch. Despite playing against the current league leaders, the fact that three of their players had previously scored over fifty goals between them, My boys were keeping them at bay, in particular Otis and Luke, organised by Gareth, Daniel Cocks playing a real Captains role for the team, Lee Oldham, Jimmy Ogoo and Arron Kirk with Matty Bryan and Graham all working hard throughout. So much so that at half time our Lee Oldham’s first half goal was still intact”. Peters went on “Losing their equaliser at the time we did was no doubt going to make our task even more difficult. Whilst I can’t be blamed for the sloppy pass that was given to the opposition, this that did lead to Maine Road working themselves back into the game, I can be blamed, and will take the blame for not being consistent in my initial individual player selection. I had warned the players if they were sloppy in training and did not work hard, then they could expect to be dismissed from my thoughts going into this tough encounter. I actually did carry this out with some players, however the fact Arron Kirk did help the team out the previous week by slotting in at centre back, despite the fact he was not at his best in training, I still did keep faith with him as Arron is very much a talented footballer. Sadly the boy was the culprit of giving the ball away which did lead to Maine Road at the start of the half making the game all square. Credit to the boys, they still worked hard but once again a one player mistake did lead to Maine Road scoring what was their winning goal. This time it was a bad decision from Jimmy Ogoo not to help the ball on, Jimmy made an attempt to kill the ball but took a bad touch and in correcting was stretching and with it did go to ground, this gave our opponents the chance to steal the show”. Peters said “I am not one bit blaming those players, both Arron and Jimmy worked as hard as anyone and both contributed well to a really fine team performance even in defeat. Maine Road also got a man sent off but whilst we played sixty five minutes with ten men, Maine Road played twenty minutes with ten men, so once again not an equal playing field. Despite this, like we had done for long parts of the game did put our hosts under constant pressure. However, a mixture of Maine Road working really hard in their defending, the ball not just sitting up for us and then a Referee that is full on facing his assistant and the touch line, this to instruct four minutes injury time and by doing this he did miss a stone wall hand ball in the box, that had we have converted would have given us at least a fully deserved point.” Peters finished by saying: ” I can’t credit the boys enough, Maine Road knew they had been in a game and were somewhat hanging on at the end, as for the Referee I must compliment him on his handling of an unfortunate incident at half time. He handled this impeccably “