By Neil Leatherbarrow
Going into Saturday’s game at the Community Ground there were grounds for expectation from Burscough, the Linnets have been in good form recently and have moved into a position were relegation is far from a foregone conclusion. But when you came away at the end you had to reflect that the opposition from East Lancashire had done a job on them.
Padiham are a big strong experienced outfit and by the end they had bullied a young Burscough team into defeat, the Linnets star man in recent months Xenon Bahula exited the game on 36 minutes having been subjected to a number of dubious challenges and they had stopped Burscough from establishing much in the way of flowing football, all aided by two goals in 14 and 16 minutes, that enabled them to defend deeply and sit on their two goal lead, it didn’t make for a terrific game but it was a recipe for success.
It was a fairly even opening to the game, the nearest to a Burscough goal a volley from David Pellegrini that went just wide of the target, that all changed on 14 minutes when Adam Boydell fouled Lewis Richmond around 20 yards from goal slightly left of centre. There was a delay while Jack Iley lined up his kick, when he unleashed it the ball went looping over the home defensive wall and into the net; it was a tremendous free-kick.
Two minutes later the ball bounced in the middle of the park and from 35 yards Joel Melia sent a dipping shot into the Burscough net, giving Burscough goalkeeper Charlie Monks no chance whatsoever of saving it.
A pair of unexpected yet stunning goals had given Padiham a 2-0 lead and Burscough a mountain to climb, even though there was still 74 minutes left to play. Burscough were for a while stunned and but for a brave block by Josh Dobie it could have been three, it took Burscough time to settle down, then on 36 minutes Melia got a yellow for a bad foul on Bahula that finished off the winger’s contribution on the day.
It was to be a frustrating afternoon for Burscough and their supporters, the
second-half did see Todd Blayney’s team do better, in the first-half they had
given Padiham too much room and it was soon clear that that was remedied in the dressing room during the interval.
On 55 minutes a dangerous cross from Morgan Kinsella wasn’t connected with by Mike Speed with the goal at his mercy and on 64 minutes Tom Ruffer thundered one against the Padiham crossbar with goalkeeper Jon Robinson beaten all ends up, finally when the ball struck the foot of the Padiham post in the 79th minute, the conclusion was obvious, it just wasn’t going to be Burscough’s afternoon.
Burscough will not come across many teams as physically strong as Padiham in the North West Counties and they can console themselves by remembering that there are still fourteen league games to play before the end of April and they have still picked up ten points from the last six games, a continuation of that form will generate 45 points in total and probably see them safe.
Monks, Middlehurst (Amankwah, 62), Kinsella, Willingham, Dobie J. ©, Elms.
Bahula (Speed, 36), Boydell (Costa, 62), Servuts, Ruffer, Pellegrini (Dobie Z.
77) Sub (not used) Koehler
Robinson, Morton ©, Bailey, Sherlock D., Sherlock K., Hoskin, Melia (Gooden,
62), Reynolds, Iley (Brownhill 80), Richmond (Bandell, 53), Disney – Ridge
(Price, 68), Sub (not used) Couch
REFEREE: Jack Welch