Burscough : Monks, McMahon, Birmingham, Middlehurst, Carnell (C), Elms, Riding, Boydell, Boden, Pellegrini, Korneliussen
Subs : Falloh, Barrow, Johnson, Brewster, Ball
Those that were present at this venue on opening day last season will recall Burscough crashing to a 3-0 amidst instability off and on the pitch. A fair bit of water had ebbed under the canal bridge in the village as new gaffer, Richard Brodie, brought a re-galvanised team to face Heys.
The Burscough side, resplendent in their new all purple away kit, sponsored by Exclusive Rewards and Birkdale Insurance Group, took the game to Heys from the off, playing with energy, creativity and graft. Despite this energetic opening and very much against the run of play, the first chance of note fell to Heys as Burscough keeper, Monks failed to clear a back pass which presented James with an opportunity to shoot at an unguarded goal – the ball rolling past the far post.
2 minutes later, Burscough took the lead and it was striker Danny Boden who found himself in space in the Heys area before cutting inside and clinically slotting the ball past Heys keeper, Hadlow. Boden had an opportunity to add a second from the spot after left back James Birmingham was brought down following a strong run at the Heys fullback. Boden struck his shot firmly against the foot of the post, the rebound hitting Hadlow who recovered to smother the ball as it rolled agonisingly towards the line.
Burscough continued to press their dominance and played some sweet, flowing football with Pellegrini breaking up play, winning possession and Boydell distributing the ball effectively with both supported tirelessly by Middehurst.
The visitors looked well balanced with full backs McMahon and Birmingham linking well with the wide men Riding and Korneliussen to set up attacks almost at will.
A Heys free kick flashed across the face of goal with no home player close enough to get the final touch.
At the other end, Boden latched on to a precise through ball from Boydell, beat the last man, went round the keeper but blazed his shot over the bar.
Heys enjoyed a spell of pressure but the visiting defence lead by the imperious Carnell held firm. Until a ball from wide found Greg Daniels who restored parity. Burscough’s response was almost instant. A Heys throw in was intercepted by the industrious Pellegrini who fed Boydell.
Boydell provided a sublime pass to Boden who took the ball in his stride, cut inside his man and drilled a low shot past the despairing right hand of Hadlow and inside the keeper’s near post. It was not lost on the travelling faithful that we, at last had, a clinical finisher.
The second half started as did the first, with Burscough on the front foot and 4 minutes in a free kick was awarded to Burscough some 30 yards or so from the Heys goal. What followed was a moment of pure class, genius even as Will Riding sent his right footed strike into the top bin. An early contender for goal of the season?
Some more slick passing involving several visiting players saw the ball go wide to James Birmingham whose shot from a tight angle scraped the top of the crossbar. That was to prove to be James’ last contribution as he left the field to applause from his team mates and the Burscough faithful and was replaced by Morgan Falloh. Morgan’s fast feet drew a foul. The subsequent free kick found Boden whose was unable to keep his shot down.
Confidence surged through the lads in the purple kit. They were playing with a cohesion and incredible work rate. Pellegrini must have covered every blade of grass on the pitch.
Another interchange of passing saw the ball fed to Danny Boden who found himself in the area with options available. Maybe the striker with a strikers instinct thought about a hat trick and the moment was gone as he was closed down by a pack of Heys defenders. Danny left shortly afterwards by the enthusiastic and rejuvenated Brewster whose physical presence suggested that Heys defenders should go tight to him which they did and inevitably conceded a foul.
The hard working Harry Middlehurst was replaced by Charlie Ball.
Another spell of pressure from Heys was dealt with magnificently by the Burscough defence and counter attacks became the norm.
In one such instance a magnificent reverse pass from Brewster found Charlie Ball in on goal. As the Burscough end were shouting for him to blast it , Charlie went for a chip which was blocked by the keeper. A bit too casual? Probably but it showed as confidence in his ability. And we were 3-1 up so…
Charlie featured again moments later after exchanging passes with Brewster. This time his almost impudent dink narrowly sailed over the bar.
5 minutes stoppage time saw Burscough comfortably see the game out.
Burscough had thoroughly deserved the win which appeared to be the consensus amongst the Heys fans that expressed an opinion. “Brodes” has his side well organised, well drilled and very much together on the same page.
Off the pitch there is a gentle buzz around the place that the club is moving in the right direction both off and on the field.
Too early for predictions of glory yet. However there is a growing optimism amongst The Burscough End that we might just do alright this season “yer know?”
A long way to go yet and a lot more water will ebb under that bridge in the village.