Harriers 3 Burscough 2 FA Trophy 1st rd
away fans: 10
Reds avoid an embarrassment
The Harriers came close to adding to the Christmas fixture list congestion tonight when they struggle to beat Burscough in this FA Trophy 1st rd tie. It was only thanks to two late goals from Stefan Moore and Martin Brittain that saw us enter the next round and a visit to Ilkeston Town after they came back from being 2-0 down at home to Ossett Town and eventually win with the same scoreline as us.
As for us we were very poor value for the win and at times we made Burscough look the better side. Our game was littered with mistakes throughout and our passing was atrocious. Our fitness came into question too with the likes of Richards and Barnes-Homer being beaten to a ball by a part time player from a lower League than us and with a full time day job to do.
Midway through the second half we even had a player, McDermott, go down with cramp while the visiting players scurried around regardless.
Following an early loss of Lee Baker with an injury picked up in a tackle some five minutes earlier Michael Bowler came on for his first appearance for us since Mansfield away in August. He had been carrying the can for that defeat and his return was long overdue.
Luckily for us we managed to find the net in the dying seconds of the half, following earlier fruitless attempts to score, when Luke Jones, in for the suspended Mark Creighton, headed the ball home from a corner.
HT: 1 - 0
It was thought that at half time there would have been a few rockets going off in the dressing room but from their demeanour for the first fifteen minutes of the second half it was obvious it must have been a cosy chat about the weather instead. We were still very poor and it was so hard to believe that we were watching the same team that had only been beaten once at home all season and had climbed to within touching distance of the Football League.
The wake up call should have come when the visitors pulled a goal back through Peter Heler after he side footed the ball home from a corner. We continued to look lethargic though and hope came with the second substitution of the night when Stefan Moore came on for the disappointing Barnes-Homer.
Later on Brian Smikle replaced McDermott when really it should have been the cruelly neglected Darryl Knights privilege. The game was crying out for some of Dazzlers inventive style and, this is not a criticism of Smikle, not more of the same.
We had now used all three of our subs to Burscoughs one and they were still running rings around us!
With the time now running down a replay looked on the cards and a trip to Burscough in two days time was not the most appealing scenario with Christmas looming. Thankfully for us, and our wallets, Stefan Moore made the game safer with a well placed shot into the corner of the net in the eighty fourth minute. Justin Richards had supplied the ammunition when he chested the ball down to him on the edge of the area.
In the last few seconds of normal time Martin Brittain thought he had made the game safe when he dummied the visiting full back, sidestepped him then lifted the ball around the keeper and into the net.
The game was far from safe though when in the dying seconds of the four minutes added on Burscough claimed a second goal of the night when Ryan Wade capitalised on some atrocious defending and equally poor goal keeping to slip the ball under Adam Bartlett and into the net.
Full credit to the visitors. They didn't embarrass themselves, they battled hard throughout the game, they were pacey and caught us on the break on more than one occasion and to be honest they were a damned sight better than some BSP teams we have seen at Aggborough in recent years.