BLUES MAKE A POINT
The blues welcomed inform Burscough to the Barton Stadium. The visitors were on a fine run of form finding themselves 3rd in the form table. The blues themselves were on a good run a form so the game promised to be a cracker and it lived up to its billing for those in attendance.
Manager Lee Duckworth was forced to shuffle his pack due to suspensions to Dave Short and Perry Bircumshaw coupled with the unavailability of Damian Skolorzynski. In to the starting eleven came George Blackwell and Sam Howell.
The blues started the game kicking into the Winter sunshine. The first 15 minutes saw the blues lay siege to the Burscough goal, but they couldn’t quite find the opening. The visitors defence were struggling to deal with the pace and clever running of Obi Anoruo. However he found the visiting goalkeeper in inspired form as a string of excellent saves kept the score at 0-0. On 15 minutes a corner from Lee Jones was initially defended well by the visitors but the ball fell to Foster around 9 yards out, he calmly side stepped his marker and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net. At this point the blues were in control and breaking through the visitors defence regularly without being able to added to the score. Burscough still held a threat on the counter with the pace of Cummings and marksmanship of Whyte, but they found a resolute blues defence and a goalkeeper in Langley who wasn’t to be upstaged by anyone.
The half time whistle sounded with the Blues frustrated to only be 1 goal to the good and the visitors relieved to regroup. Burscough came out the second half a new team and immediately began to put pressure on the blues goal. The pressure eventually told when a midfield runner caused on overload on the blues right side enabling Lorde to break through with just Langley to beat and he lifted the ball over him into the net. The goal galvanised the visitors and the blues were restricted to counter attacks, but still looked capable of grabbing a goal. Then on 66 minutes a “soft” free kick on the visitors left was swung in and a blues defender unfortunately guided it into his own net, later claimed by Whyte. The Blues management responded by sending on Collinson for his debut. Just five minutes later Collinson was upended wide on the right as he toyed with the defender. Blackwell expertly swung the dead ball into the danger area and Howell rose highest to bring the blues back on level terms. The equaliser inspired Winsford and they again laid siege to the visitors goal, with Blackwell and Anoruo both denied by superb saves.
With three minutes left to play a fine move down the blues right involving Collinson, Hopper and Delaney found Anoruo wide on the right who had dragged 2 of the visiting centre backs with him, he side stepped both and laid on a great centre for the adventuring Delaney who should of scored, but the keeper made a save with his foot and the chance was lost.
The referee finally blew the final whistle and both teams were clapped off by everyone in the ground for what had been a great advert for NWC football. Both sides could feel aggrieved for not taking 3 points but neither deserved too lose. The blues stubbornness has made them formidable opposition for any team but they need to continue the fine form and rise upo the table further. The next 2 games will certainly test that resolve as they face City of Liverpool next Saturday, but first attention turns to Boxing Day and Derby day!
Langley, Delaney, Clarke, Elliott, Jenyons, Foster, Jones (Collinson 68), Hopper, Anoruo, Howell, Blackwell
Subs not used – J Duckworth, Boyle, France, L Duckworth
MOM – There were stand out performances from Langley, Foster, Elliot and Anoruo, but Steve Jenyons was a class act through out and was deservedly named MOM.