Team: 1. Harris 2. Wager 3. Bryan 4. Banda 5. Holt 6. T. Hendley 7. Bellamy (c) 8. K.Hendley (Sub Walker) 9. Thompson 10. Gervin 11. Marie
Subs not used: Rahman, Morgan & Ashfaq
Bacup & Rossendale Borough suffered a setback in their fight for survival as the man in the middle played a huge part in the contest against Abbey Hey.
Bacup named the same starting eleven that were victorious over Runcorn Town last week with just one change to the substitutes as Richard Walker was back on the bench.
The weather all around the north of England was oh so deceiving as it looked lively with the sun shining and blue skies all around however the temperatures and constant gusts of wind were absolutely freezing, spring’s not quite here yet folks.
Anyhow it was another vital game for the Borough to pick some points up and put pressure on the rest and had a terrific chance to go one up after just eight minutes. The ever solid Gareth Wager at the back showed his great strength to brush aside Brandon Zibaka as he then brought the ball out of his own half and chipped Dom Marie in behind the Hey defence who closed in on goal and his shot was thwarted comfortably. He could have perhaps squared it to Matty Bryan who made a lung bursting run from left-back and was screaming at the top of his lungs for the cross however the striker went by himself and missed the good chance.
The visitors were probably having the lion’s share of the possession however a Zibaka header which flew well wide was there only noteworthy attempt at goal.
It was an extremely windy day at the Brian Boys West View Stadium which was making it difficult for both sides to play as every searching pass was being taken by the gusts from above and for this reason it was not the most action packed half.
With BARB kicking towards the club house end in the first half Simon Thompson was next to try his luck and went for the spectacular. Bryan drove down the left wing once again and clipped a high teasing ball towards the back post where Thompson was waiting and the forward went for the audacious bicycle kick however it bounced quite a way wide to keep the score at 0-0.
With just five minutes until the break the Borough had an even better opportunity to break the deadlock at a crucial time as well. It was a lovely bit of football from the home side as Kyle Hendley in midfield threaded a pass to Bryan on the left who stormed down the flank and eased past his man and crossed for Marie who then pulled it back to Thompson on the penalty spot who agonizingly struck over the crossbar.
Bacup were pushing for the crucial first goal before the break and should have found it with just seconds until the break as playmaker Michael Gervin dinked a ball in behind to Marie who went for the lob however the goalkeeper was barely off his line and he caught with ease.
Half-Time: Bacup 0-0 Abbey Hey
Just five minutes into the second half and Bacup were forced into a change as Kyle Hendley had to hobble off injured to be replaced by Richard Walker.
With 63 minutes gone in the tight encounter Bacup had the ball in the net, Marie and Gervin linked up well again and Marie slotted it into the near post however the striker was adjudged to have gone a fraction too soon however the advantage is supposed to be awarded to the striker in this tight situation.
With Abbey Hey creating very few chances it was Zibaka again however who had an opportunity at goal, an inviting cross from the left gave the striker a chance to stretch and guide goal wards however it was difficult to control and it flew comfortably over.
With 26 gone in the half this is when the man in the middle started to have a big influence on the game as Bryan marauded down the wing and delivered which was blocked by a defender’s arm, it was in an unnatural position and looked a clear penalty kick, the referee waved away bewilderingly. The official then didn’t even flinch when Kiarno Samms threw a throw-in into the face of Dom Marie.
With 12 minutes remaining it was looking like a stalemate in all honesty however the visitors were then awarded a penalty kick of their own. Gareth Wager had the ball at his feet in the box and went to clear it but a striker nipped in, touched the ball away and with Wager in full swing as he was about to kick the ball he ended up kicking the attacker, but what can you do in that situation to get out of it when in full swing? Brandon Zibaka stepped up nevertheless who started the season at Ashton United dispatched the spot kick confidently.
With Bacup pushing for an equaliser going into the final ten minutes heads were then turned to the man in black once again as Simon Thompson cut inside and crossed from the right-hand side which again struck a hand being held in an unnatural position but again it was waved away, he was having none of it.
Just to rub salt into the wounds Abbey Hey hit the Borough on the counter and scored a second goal in the final minute. Substitute Justin Pickering was set away and took it round Josh Harris and stroked the ball into the back of the net however it looked as though the attacker was offside. After the match the Bacup players stated that the referee admitted the player was indeed offside however the linesman let it go.
Full-Time: Bacup 0-2 Abbey Hey