Burscough 2-1 Padiham (aet)
FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
Wednesday 5th September, 2012
On the first official day of my PhD course at nearby Edge Hill University, I decided to take in my first game whilst being in exile from Boro and the trials and tribulations of the NCEL.
Burscough, being just 4 miles north of Ormskirk and my campus, seemed like an ideal start. Having seen that they had an FA Cup replay scheduled, I decided to go and get my fix of cup action, having missed Boro's defeat at Spennymoor earlier in the season.
After catching the 19:06 train from Ormskirk to Burscough Junction, a journey lasting around four minutes, I rocked up at the ground at around half past seven.
The admission was £8, which is about right considering they are a level above Boro, but the programme was poor at £2. Mainly adverts and unnecessarily full colour throughout.
The ground is tidy enough, with three covered sides providing plenty of shelter. Tonight though was a clear sunny evening, if not a little chilly.
The clock ticked by to 19:45, and the players emerged to a sparse crowd of 139. Unfortunately, this seems about average for Burscough. Their ground, and the size of the towns of Burscough and Ormskirk combined, deserved a better attendance week in, week out.
Burscough play in the Evo-Stik Division One North, alongside old foes of Boro such as Farsley, Lancaster City and Goole. They were relegated last season winning only six games in the process, and things behind the scenes aren't rosy. Their manager, for example, stated that this season's aim is to simply win more games than last season.
Because of this, it would not surprise me to see them battling it out with Padiham in the North West Counties League next season, where tonight's visitors currently play.
The game started evenly, but it was Padiham who drew first blood through Neil Stansfield on 21 minutes, sending their small band of 10 supporters wild behind the dugout. The keeper should have done better, but it looked as though a shock was on.
However, right on the half time whistle, the Padiham keeper came charging out, was rounded, and Louis Mayers equalised for the home side.
The second half started with Padiham the brighter, but the turning point came just after the hour mark when an away player was sent off for an elbow. Only the referee and the home keeper saw it, and the away bench were perplexed by the decision causing a bit of kerfuffle between the benches, but regardless it was 11 v 10, with the man advantage going to the higher placed team. Surely it was a matter of time before Burscough won the game?
The full time whistle came, and extra time began as the dark drew in.
Padiham defended stoutly, with 9 men behind the ball, but had chances of their own.
Extra time flew by, and half time was soon upon us as the clock ticked past 10pm.
With just four minutes to go, the best Burscough move of the game resulted in the winning goal. Darren Brookfield slotted home a wonderful shot on 116 minutes and celebrated by running the perimeter of the pitch with his shirt over his head.
Burscough will need to be a lot stronger to overcome Witton Albion in the next round. For Padiham, it is a case of what if? It took Burscough 200 minutes to finally overcome their NWCL opponents.
They fought bravely, and will feel hard done by, but it's Burscough who progress.