Bacup Borough v AFC Blackpool

Bacup Borough 3 v 2 AFC Blackpool (NWCFL Division One – North)

North West Counties Football League action returned to the Brian Boys Westview Stadium this weekend as Bacup Borough entertained Lancashire rivals AFC Blackpool in a Division One (North) fixture. The seaside club arrived in East Lancashire on top of the league table after winning four out of their opening five league fixtures.

Having conceded two goals in the opening twenty minutes against Steeton in midweek, Brent Peters (manager) was looking for a solid performance from his back four as the league leaders came to town. Speaking before kick-off he said, “The game this afternoon will be a stern test of both ability and character against strong opposition. We have the players in the squad that can beat teams in this league, but it’s up to the players to show the supporters and management team what they can do on the pitch.

AFC Blackpool got the game underway as both sides struggled to retain possession in the opening five minutes. The visitors had an early chance on six minutes as John-Jo Morris attacked down the left-wing before cutting inside and hitting a tame shot which was easily save by Henry Turner in the Bacup Borough goal.

AFC Blackpool broke the deadlock on eight minutes, as the visitors played a long ball which split the home defence and was collected by Jacob Gregory. Having taken the ball around Henry Turner who had rushed out of his area, Jacob Gregory carried the ball into the area before side footing the ball into an empty goal to give the visitors a 0-1 lead.

It’s often said that the most dangerous time in football is when you have just scored and the visitors proved that point. As three minutes after taking the lead Bacup Borough drew level as Toby wright received the ball at the edge of the AFC Blackpool box, the striker turned his man before taking a shot that deflected into the path of Bradley Hancock. His first time shot from the left-hand angle of the area rifled passed Hall into the goal to make the score 1-1.

Bacup Borough were now on top and putting pressure on the visitors defence, on fifteen minutes the ball fell to Michael Gervin on the edge of the box and after taking a touch he lined up a shot which was deflected just wide for a corner.

On nineteen minutes, Michael Gervin and Joshua Walne play a nice one two down the right hand side before the ball is eventually crossed into the area. Lewis Byrne who had made a run to the front post tried to get a touch but he failed to make a solid connection.

Bacup Borough should have taken the lead on twenty-two minutes, when Toby Wright won a free-kick for the home side in a dangerous position on this right. The ball free-kick was taken by Joshua Walne and Callum Hewitt attacked it at the front post, but visiting keeper Daniel Hall managed to palm the ball away for a corner.

The resulting corner is played to the back post were Mallinson gets a scruffy contact on the ball sending it back into the middle for Hewitt who wins a header that crashes against the crossbar before being cleared. The referee then stopped play to allow two home players treatment for head injuries.

On thirty-seven minutes, AFC Blackpool should have extended their lead as Jacob Gregory found himself free inside the home penalty area, but Henry Turner made an outstanding save to keep the scores level at 1-1.

Bacup Borough took the lead on forty-two minutes, when Callum Hewitt brought down a high ball in midfield before playing an excellent through ball to Bradley Hancock, he beat his man before feeding the ball to Byrne who slotted the ball into the net to make it 2-1.

AFC Blackpool had the first effort of the second-half on fifty-one minutes, when Oscar Radcliffe drove at the home side defence with the ball before cutting inside and hitting a shot which was deflected and gathered by Henry Turner. Just three minutes later, Michael Gervin breaks behind the visitors defence following an excellent pass by Toby Wright, but Gervin’s low cross to the front post was easily collected by Hall in the AFC Blackpool goal.

Bacup Borough then had two efforts in two minutes, the first on fifty-seven minutes saw Josh Walne hit a shot from the edge of the box which the goalkeeper failed to hold onto. Toby Wright then collected the loose ball, but instead of shooting he tried to find a man in the middle of the box and AFC Blackpool cleared it to safety. The second chance once agin fell to Josh Walne who looked to bend one into the top corner, but the keeper made the save comfortably.

On sixty-six minutes, the games controversial moment arrived following an AFC Blackpool corner, the home side broke quickly and Lewis Byrne found himself one-on-one with Dan Hall.  As Byrne rounded the goalkeeper, Hall brought him down in the penalty area. The referee awarded the penalty before showing Daniel Hall a straight red card, the goalkeeper then advised the referee that he could not be punished twice and if he had awarded a spot kick then he could only receive a yellow card. At this point the referee changed his decision and changed the red card to a yellow card.

Bacup Borough captain Michael Gervin stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way as Bacup Borough extended their lead to make the score 3-1 with twenty one minutes of the game remaining.

Amazing tracking back by Lewis Byrne on seventy-five minutes, winning the ball back before being released by Bradley Hancock down the left-wing. The Blackpool defender couldn’t deal with his pace of Lewis Byrne and brought him down to give away a free-kick midway inside the visitors half close to the touchline.

As temperatures started to boil over Darren Warren conceded a penalty on eighty-five minutes, which led to McKenna squaring up to home goalkeeper Henry Turner before Ben Duffield converted the penalty for AFC Blackpool making the score 3-2. The spot-kick was the final effort of the match and the game ended with Bacup Borough winning 3-2 in front of a crowd of 117.

At the final whistle a number of AFC Blackpool players confronted Ross Mallinson which lead to a few incidents with a number of players pushing each other, before the referee and two assistances stepped in to broken things up and hold back a number of visiting players. I fairness the home players did not respond to the incidents and offered the hands to the visitors and officials before leaving the field of play.

Match Details

Bacup Borough – Turner, Walne, Hancock, Fallon, Mallinson, Warren, Hewitt, Gervin, Wright, Byrne, Burton (Subs) Mellor, Hussey, Godsman-Pilling, Luby, Howard

AFC Blackpool – Hall, Hughes, Dawson, Pickering, McLean, Higham, Gregory, O’Brien, Duffield, Aspinall, Morris (Subs) Wilson, McKenna, Radcliffe, Buchan

Goals(Bacup) Hancock, Byrne, Garvin(p) (Blackpool) Gregory, Duffield

Attendance – 117

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