Bacup Borough Football Club
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Seaside Air The Perfect Tonic For Borough Boss Peters

AFC BLACKPOOL 0 BACUP BOROUGH 1

Bacup Borough must be wondering where they would be in the North West Counties League Premier Division table if they got to play all their away games on the Fylde coast. Whilst they have struggled away from the Brian Boys West View Stadium in league games this season, the one exception has been in Blackpool where visits to face Squires Gate and now AFC Blackpool have yielded two wins and two clean sheets. The chant “Can we play you every week??” has never been more appropriate.

For this trip Bacup had to plan without the familiar figure of boss Brent Peters in the dugout, as The Bacup manager missed his first game through illness in 16 years involvement at the club. Karl Stringer was therefore in the chair for his first match fully in charge. As expected team captain Daniel Cocks failed to recover from the ankle injury he picked up against AFC Darwen on Saturday, whilst Luke Morgan was also on the treatment table. Vice Captain Otis Gorman therefore took the armband, with Martin Cosgrave and Artjoms Butorins coming in for the injured duo. Up front Haydn Paul was preferred to Graham McKeown in the starting line-up. On the bench Dave Limabrooke was back from injury and Paul Arrowsmith also returned.

From the off Bacup took the game to their mid-table opponents and Cosgrave’s early cross from the left was headed onto the crossbar by Paul. Borough were forcing the pace with several corners and it was an excellent goal that gave them the lead. Darren Evans fizzing effort gave O’Boyle in the home goal no chance of making a clean save and Paul showed a predators instinct to calmly slot home the loose ball for his sixth goal of the season. The goal seemed to wake up the home side and they started to ask a few questions of the visitors defence. Gareth Wager collected a booking for a late challenge on the edge of the area in the 22nd minute and another free-kick in a dangerous position two minutes later saw the wall doing its job by keeping out Waddington’s well struck effort. At the other end Borough had a free-kick of their own which O’Boyle gathered at the second attempt from Butorins strike. There was one more opportunity for the visitors on the stroke of half-time when a good spell of pressure ended with Shane Birtles driving over. HALF-TIME: AFC Blackpool 0 Bacup Borough 1

Although Borough were generally dominant in the first period the same could not be said for the second 45 as the hosts put the Boro defence under severe pressure at times. However, Bacup had the first clear chance of the half when Lee Oldham failed to connect properly from a central position on 47 minutes and O’Boyle was able to make the save. The dark conditions meant the white numbers on Blackpool’s orange shirts were difficult to pick out so apologies for not crediting the striker that forced a fine save from Ryan Jones that led to a 48th minute corner. At the other end Paul pulled clear of his marker in the 53rd minute and looked to be adding to his account, only to see the outstretched leg of O’Boyle deny him his second. That was the end of Bacup as a serious attacking threat for a twenty minute spell as they were forced deeper and deeper to defend their lead. The frustrated home bench were heaping pressure on the match officials and this contributed to bookings for Evans and Cosgrave during a two minute spell, before the latter made way for Limabrooke. Once again Jones was performing heroics in the Bacup goal, needing to be at full stretch to keep out two Blackpool efforts, whilst on the break Matty Bryan blazed wide in the 85th minute. Stringer brought on Paul Nelson and McKeown to try and inject some fresh legs and the latter fired wide as the game entered injury time. The match referee must have thought he was at Old Trafford as he played nearly ten minutes extra in a game that had seen no notable injury delays, during which time Jones once again emerged as the saviour after the hosts forced three more late corners. However the final whistle did eventually sound and the win lifts Bacup up a place in the league table and now within striking distance of several teams above them, all of whom have played more games. FULL-TIME: AFC Blackpool 0 Bacup Borough 1

BACUP BOROUGH: Jones, Wager, Bryan, Butorins, Gorman, Evans, Birtles, Oldham (sub. Nelson 87 mins), Paul (sub. McKeown 87 mins), Kirk, Cosgrave (sub. Limabrooke 77 mins). Subs Not Used: Socha, Arrowsmith. Attendance: 42.

MATCH STATS: SHOTS ON TARGET: AFC Blackpool 6 Bacup Borough 7  SHOTS OFF TARGET: AFC Blackpool 5 Bacup Borough 7  CORNERS: AFC Blackpool 7 Bacup Borough 7