MANAGEMENT ASK PLAYERS TO SHOW CLASS
Bacup Borough came away from the Neuven Stadium with an impressive 1-1 draw against league favourites Bury AFC. And in a game that was billed as the game of the day in the North West Counties League it certainly didn't fail in living up to those expectations.
Before the match the management team wanted to make sure that the squad were in the best frame of mind possible going into the game, and that is why they made the decision to relax the players with a pre-match meal at the Victoria in Walshaw.
The lads seemed in good spirits throughout the pre match and it was an opportunity for the manager to address his players in quiet surroundings and instill that belief. During the pre match Brent focused on what he wanted to achieve from the afternoon, and the word that came up on numerous occasions was, class. He wanted his players to show class, and they did that in abundance.
Before the game and in parts during we witnessed several torrential downpours but on a surface that was absolutely immaculate it didn't cut up or waiver once.
The first 15 minutes definitely belonged to the hosts with excellent running and trickery from both Aidan Chippendale and Abimbola Obasoto operating down the wings. And it was Obasoto who had the first chance of the afternoon. A wonderful piece of skill saw the former Morecambe player come inside on his right foot and bend a beautiful shot from the edge of the box onto Harry Turner's left hand post. The warning signs were there, and it would be an afternoon where we'd be seeing a lot more of Obasoto.
Ryan Siddle In A Battle With Bury AFC Harry Brazel (Photo: @RedLanternPhoto)
In those early encounters Ross Mallinson and Joey Fallon were standing strong with repeated aerial clearances and tough tackling. It was also good to see Callum Burton get his chance to shine due to the suspension of club captain Michael Gervin.
As the game progressed boro began to see a little bit more of the ball in the attacking third. Kyle Siddle and Alex Mellor started to probe and stretch the full backs with energetic running down the wings, and both Aidan Hussey and Callum Hewitt were also beginning to gain more success with the link up play through the middle.
Boro continued to live dangerously with last gasp tackling, but on 23 minutes it was the boro who would take the lead. Bradley Hancock found himself in space on the left and from 35 yards out he decided to try his luck. A good shot from the full back zipped across the greasy surface, and the AFC goalkeeper Jack Atkinson was unable to gather, and from close range, Toby Wright pounced as all good forwards do and slotted home to give boro the lead and silence the 1219 inside the Neuven Stadium.
The rest of the first half would be a game of cat and mouse with both teams having equal share of possession. Obasoto continued to make life difficult for Ryan Siddle playing right back, and the same could be said for Brad Hancock who was managing to maintain the former Colne and Ossett United player Chippendale.
On 35 minutes Aidan Hussey picked up an unnecessary yellow card for standing on the ball when it looked like the hosts wanted to take it quick, and that would be a decision that would come back to bite us.
Toby Wright continued to make the ball stick as the target man against strong opposition in Ayomide Ibrahim and AFC captain Jonathan Hunt. The last chance of the first 45 minutes came for the home team. That man again, Obasoto creating space before sitting a ball up towards the back post before witnessing a fantastic warrior style block from Hewitt. As the referee, Lee Harding brought the first half to a close, that tackle from Hewitt epitomised everything about the game so far from a boro perspective.
The second half started off pretty much like the first with AFC dictating the pace of the game. Two minutes in and they would have their first chance of the second period. A right footed shot from 15 yards by Tom Greaves brought out a good save from Turner.
Boro were able to regain possession and drive forward in search of a second goal, but on 51 minutes the afternoon was going to get a bit more uncomfortable with Aidan Hussey picking up another yellow for a late challenge on Obasoto, meaning that we'd have to see out the remaining 39 minutes with 10 men.
All credit to boro because for the vast majority of that time inbetween it didn't look like AFC had the numerical advantage. They did continue to drive forward with Harry Brazel and Anthony Whitehead seeing a lot of the ball, and from every single set piece the towering figure of Jonathan Hunt was letting his feelings be felt.
On 65 minutes we possibly witnessed the save of the season. A deflected shot from AFC had Turner going in the wrong direction before readjusting his body to parry the ball away with his right hand, and from the resulting rebound Turner was able to get to his feet in double quick time and block the second attempt, a great piece of goalkeeping that brought a rapturous applause from everybody inside the stadium.
AFC would have further opportunities to score with shots from Greaves and a powerful header rebounding off the crossbar from Hunt, but this youthful boro side were doing Brent Peters and David Felgate proud.
On 74 minutes boro won themselves a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area. Kyle Siddle's shot was saved brilliantly from Atkinson, and similar to Turner he was able to make a double save by diving at the feet of Toby Wright, excellent goalkeeping and equal bravery being shown.
AFC made several substitutions with the manager Andy Welsh swapping defenders for additional numbers in midfield in a quest to get his team back in the game. That quest was almost unhinged with the sending off of Ibrahim on 85 minutes for a reckless two footed tackle on Hewitt.
During the 90 minutes the club physios had only been on the field of play for a brief period, so as the game moved into injury time and towards 96 minutes it was starting to leave the boro fans slightly puzzled as to where Mr Harding had found that additional time from?
And with one last throw of the dice AFC sent the cavalry forward for another corner. It was delivered with pace towards the back post and with brute strength and determination their captain Jonathan Hunt managed to direct his header goal bound and into Turner's right hand side, sending the crowd into hysterical celebrations behind the goal. There wasn't even enough time for the restart as the referee beautifully brought the game to a close. A bitter pill to swallow but an afternoon that can hopefully be the start of something special for this young talented group of players that Brent and Dave have assembled.
The boro players stayed on the pitch to applaud both sets of supporters on a wet miserable afternoon that became a wonderful spectacle for non league football and especially the North West Counties League.
In the pre match build up the manager Brent Peters spoke about having class and showing the supporters what we've got going on at Bacup Borough. Every single squad member showed that class at the Neuven Stadium in front of one of the biggest crowds that the North West Counties has ever seen.
Speaking to Brent after the game he said. "The lads did well. We asked them to show class and they did that throughout. Of course they're disappointed in dropping the two points but a lot of positives will come from this game. This is now a standard that we have set ourselves, we move forward into next week's game with Pilkington."