Rocket Claims Man of the Match is Chris Lester, with an overal Captain's performance topped off by a defiant, lung busting, 60 yard run on 90+2 minutes to force the series of corners that led to the equaliser that ultimately led to us winning the game.
But once again, there were any number of lads who could have got the award.
There’s full time and then there is injury time, there is extra time and even Fergietime, but today we witnessed Burtietime as Simon Burton’s side came back from 2-1 down to seal a dramatic late victory in what seemed like the 17 th added minute of a thrilling match.
At the moment, summer only seems to come out when the Purples are playing and on another sunny but breezy day 411 mums, dads, kids, dogs and scooters turned out to witness the COLs first ever competitive home fixture. By far the biggest crowd of the day in both divisions of the Hallmark Security League and bigger than all but 4 matches in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League too. Indeed there were a number of National League North and South games that pulled in fewer than the Delta Taxis Stadium welcomed today, so there can
be no doubt about the potential pulling power of this team if things continue from here.
With Danny Dalton back to show off his holiday tan to the lads and Jordan Haskell finally receiving FA clearance to play, manager Simon Burton made a few changes from the side that won its opening fixture last week at Chadderton. With last week’s two goal hero Chris Dykes off to get an even better tan that Danny, the manager opted to start with the same 4-4- 2 formation that had done so well in the second half previously.
There was also a place on the bench for midweek signing from Congleton, Bradley Williams.
1 – Ste Longrigg
2 – Chris Lester
3 – Joe Camozzi
4 – Ant Daniels
5 – Danny Dalton
6 – Allen Weston
7 – Jordan Haskell
8 – Mike Smith
9 – Billy Webb
10 – Daley Woods
11 – Declan Gregson
12 – Rob Abelwhite
14 – Nathan Martland
15- Bradley Williams
16 – Michael Chojnicki
17 – Tony Dunne
City were the first to settle into their stride and started to pass the ball fluently around the Bacup penalty area and on 5 minutes came the first corner of the game…..to Bacup. A quick break from loose play in midfield put the visitors in on Ste Longrigg’s goal, as if to let the lads know they were going to have a fight on their hands today.
The corner worked neatly out to Davison Banda who’s shot flew well over the bar.
Next it was City’s turn to threaten the corner flag, as a good cross by Woods on 8 minutes was cleared.
Nothing came of the resulting corner though and the play soon settled back into tentative midfield action for the next 10 minutes or so, which was good for the many latecomers still making their way in through Glyn’s revolving turnstile hoping to not have missed any of the action.
Allen Weston had to clear a punt over the top as COLs defensive line almost got caught out on 15 minutes and the resulting corner was easily gathered by Longrigg (whose name is ironically an anagram of ‘length pegs groin’) looking fully recovered from last week’s injury problem.
Bacup had now started to settle themselves and threatened with a series of passes in midfield by the impressive duo of Foster and Rutter (sounds like a 1980s folk duo that got lucky with a one hit wonder in 1985 with a heavily sampled version of Scarborough Fair). City’s back line was caught out a couple of times and only some great recovery tackling by first Camozzi, then Lester that got them out of jail.
City’s midfield wasn’t just standing around watching though and Haskell played a neat ball out wide to Daley Woods who despite his marker thinking it was an arm-wrestling competition and not a football match, managed to get away a shot that was well held by Ashley in the Bacup goal.
The Purps were doing some terrific work down both wings with both full backs Lester and Camozzi not afraid to race forward and Declan Gregson firing some telling crosses into the middle for Webb and Woods (sounds like one of them posh hand made bathroom soap sets you only get in the toilets at the Newz Bar or Palm Sugar).
Eventually on 35 minutes it was from another one of these pinpoint crosses that City opened the scoring.
Gregson swinging a hanging ball beyond the keeper where Danny Dalton was waiting to stoop like a baby giraffe taking its first sip of water to nod in for the home side. 1-0 COLFC.
The goal really settled City down and for the remainder of the first half they kept the ball well in midfield whilst Smith, Haskell and Webb all did their best to tease the opposition defence.
HT 1-0 COLFC
Bacup began the second half kicking towards the Dodge Kop, Simon Burton having opted to send on Williams for his debut in place of Haskell at half time.
The first fifteen minutes of the half were pretty tame with City seemingly in control but both sides perhaps saving their energy for what was going to unfold later in the game. In fact the busiest person during this period of the match seemed to be poor old physio Lucy Orme, who first had to race across to the far side of the pitch for some lengthy treatment to Declan Gregson then back onto the middle of the pitch on 60 minutes to attend to Danny Dalton, before returning to deal with the still prone Gregson on the touchline.
Perhaps the next investment for the chairman should be one of them golf carts they first used in USA 94 to ferry injured players around, or if they are too expensive see if Unigate have any 2 nd hand milk floats on the go.
Gregson has to be replaced by Martland on 63 minutes and Bacup just had time to remind us this was a football match, not an episode of Casualty, by hitting the post before Tony Dunne replaced Danny Dalton 4 minutes later.
Both wingers were now on for City and they both were next into the action, first a pacy run and shot by Martland forced a corner and then a tricky run by Williams saw his low cross scrambled to safety by the visiting defence. The Purple’s were good value for their slender lead, as half chances were squandered by Williams, Webb, Weston and Woods, but Wacup…..erm I mean Bacup weren’t done just yet.
A sublime pass with the outside of his foot from Matthew Bryan turned defence into attack, the ball cleared over Weston, putting Jonathan Thompson in on goal. Ste Longrigg rushed out to close down but the number 10 kept his cool and calmly chipped over the keeper and into the net……1-1
Up to now, this had been an entertaining if not exhilarating game, but the blue touchpaper was now lit on a scintillating finale. Williams jinked his way to the goal line again on 81 minutes, his pass back out to Woods saw the striker sizzle a fierce shot across the front of the goal. Another good cross by Williams is gathered by the keeper, only four and a half minutes left now as the Purple Partisans packed infront of the clubhouse started baying for a winner.
But then disaster, Thompson repays the favour to Bryan who finishes past Longrigg to
make it 2-1. Was the home curse going to strike again for COLs ?
All successful sides point to the role played by the fans when they get unlikely results due to the sheer willpower of thousands of screaming supporters getting behind them in times of trouble. When the sun settles in this victory, Simon and his team will be glad of the assistance the Purple Partisans gave in their hour of need.
2-1 down at home and with the match heading towards certain defeat, the crowd weren’t yet in the mood to give up on this game, and the players responded.
Martland and Williams were getting cross after cross into the box as ever more desperate Bacup clearances were being picked up by Daniels and Smith in midfield and fed straight back out wide. City forced a corner after another good save from the keeper, then another corner, then another……it was from this third successive
corner came the equaliser.
Williams swung it high into the middle, Dunne flicked it on and Billy Webb watched it expertly all the way to stab it into the roof of the net at the back post……CEL-EB- RATE GOOD TIMES. COME ON !!! The roar could be heard from one of our supporters at Aintree Train Station, I guess you won’t be leaving early again eh Shane!
A draw against a good side to follow up an opening day win, that’s surely enough for anyone right ? No chance,
……there was still time for victory. Williams fired over then Webb takes a whack in the face trying to challenge the keeper for a high ball, nobody is ready to let this one go just yet.
ATTACK-ATTACK screamed the crowd as the ref’s watch seemed to have stopped and we were now deep, deep, deep into injury time. More good work by Williams, its easy to see why Simon has brought him into the team, plays it back to Lester, who plays in Smith who finishes past the keeper…….PURPLE PANDEMONIUM!!!.....half the team head to a piley-on in the corner of the pitch, the other to high five the Partisans doing their limbs all over the shop dance in the stand, what an end to a game.
There is just time for one short chorus of ‘This is what it feels like to play Purple Football” before the referee remembers he’s supposed to have a backup watch and blows for full time.
FT 3-2 City
As a crowd full of faces beaming far greater than the august sun cheers off their heroes you can’t help feeling this is what football is all about. Fans and players in harmony as one bringing the team to victory then enjoying the celebrations as equals afterwards……take that Premier League.
The club was founded in 1879. As Bacup, they joined the Lancashire League during the 1893–94 season, taking over the fixtures of Barrow, who had resigned on 20 November 1893. After finishing bottom of the league in their first season, the following season saw the club achieve a top-half place in the table. However, the club withdrew from the league during the 1897–98 season without completing their fixtures.
In 1901 Bacup rejoined the Lancashire League, where they remained for two seasons before becoming founder members of the new Division Two of the Lancashire Combination in 1903. They remained in the division until the end of the 1910–11 season, when despite only finishing sixth, they were promoted to Division One; that season also saw them win the Lancashire Junior Cup. However, they were relegated back to Division Two the following season after finishing bottom. After three more years struggling at the bottom of Division Two they left the league in 1915.
Following World War I, the club rejoined the league in 1920, by which time they had been renamed Bacup Borough. They remained members of the now single-division Lancashire Combination until World War II, finishing in the bottom half of the table in most seasons, one of the exceptions being a third-place finish in 1929–30.
They returned to the Lancashire Combination after World War II, and won the league in 1946–47. When it was expanded to a second division in 1947, they were placed in Division One, but were relegated to Division Two at the end of the 1948–49 season, which saw them finish bottom of the table. Despite only finishing sixth in 1954–55, the club was promoted back to Division One, where they remained until the league reverted back to a single division in 1968. They were runners-up in 1972–73.
In 1982 the Lancashire Combination merged with the Cheshire County League to form the North West Counties League, with Bacup Borough placed in Division Three. When the division was abolished in 1987, they were moved into Division Two. The 1989–90 saw the club claim the runners-up position, earning promotion to Division One, where they remained until being relegated at the end of the 1994–95 season.
After winning Division Two in 2002–03 the club were promoted back to Division One, which was renamed the Premier Division in 2008. The 2003–04 season saw the club win the League Challenge Cup, beating Newcastle Town 3–0 in the final held at Haig Avenue in Southport. In 2011–12 they won the League Challenge Cup again with a 5–0 victory over Maine Road.
In 2013 the club was renamed Bacup & Rossendale Borough after nearby Rossendale United folded, They went on to finish second-from-bottom of the table in North West Counties League, but were repreived from relegation after Kidsgrove Athletic were reprieved from relegation in the division above. However, the following season they finished in the same position, and were relegated. At the end of the season the club were renamed Bacup Borough again.
Bacup finished 5th in Division One and qualified for a play off semi final with Stockport Town, which they won 2-0, before going on to lose in the Play-Off Final 2-0 AET to Barnton.