Linnets beaten in injury time
IT all looked set for a draw at Victoria Park on Tuesday night.
With the score 2-2, the referee had signalled four minutes added time and both teams looked to have accepted a point, the four minutes had elapsed when Whitchurch won a corner, it was driven across the face of goal, Burscough goalkeeper Max Povey failed to deal with it and Joe Howell netted the Whitchurch winner.
The first-half had been punctuated by a fluke goal by the visitors that went into the net via a bad bounce and two Burscough goals that at the time gave the Linnets a completely justified 2-1 lead. All that changed with a brilliant strike by Whitchurch to make it 2-2 at the interval.
Whitchurch had started the livelier of the two sides and they took the lead after four minutes. Sean Griffiths was supplied a pass from the right and from 20 yards hit a curling shot that sent Povey diving after it.
Chad Whyte made no mistake on the half-hour. Cummings crossed from the right and Whyte met the ball with a powerful downward header that sent it past Whitchurch goalkeeper Dave Parton to equalise.
Burscough were going well in this period, forcing Whitchurch onto the back foot and in the 33rd minute they went in front. Cummings received the ball about a yard inside the penalty area and twisted past a close marking defender behind him, except the defender clumsily tripped him and a penalty was inevitable. Gary Grier took the Linnets spot kick, blasting it low into the corner to make it 2-1 to Burscough.
Four minutes later a real memorable moment arrived. Tim Sanders stepped onto a bouncing ball around 25 yards from goal, his dipping shot flew over a perfectly placed Povey and thundered into the Burscough net behind him, it was just unstoppable.
It looked odds on the draw in added time, then Povey didn’t connect with Tim Sanders corner and Howell headed the winner.
BURSCOUGH got the better of the sixth placed East Lancashire side in an exciting encounter. And at the same time boosted their own record by moving up into 14th position in the North West Counties Premier Division table.
It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise that the game was an exciting one.
An article in the match programme pointed out that since 2012, meetings between the two teams at Padiham had averaged four goals per game, so the five goal thriller was just par for the course.
Much of the talk before the game was about Burscough midfielder Josh Dunroe who took to the field and warmed up with Padiham, it transpired that he was transferred to them during the week and was to make his Padiham debut against Burscough.
Linnets manager Dave Sutton replaced Dunroe not with a midfielder but with a six foot plus central defender Jorge Dublin, who had been acquired from Chorley before the match. He was to make an impressive debut. Burscough started the game well. Chad Whyte had a shot saved by home goalkeeper Tony Aghayere, then in the 12th minute matters became extremely promising.
Danny Brady, who was playing in his customary right-back position got forward and kept going, he got into the penalty area and was between two defenders when he looked to pull the trigger.
However, he was pushed by home defender James Dean and a penalty was given.
Whyte stepped up but his spot-kick was a poor one and keeper Aghayere saved it comfortably.
Still Burscough looked to have plenty of energy and were forcing the hosts back onto the defensive, the hosts relying on swift counterattacks, one of which was fruitful in the 25th minute.
The ball was lifted over an advanced Linnets defence and Michael Fowler was in on goal.
Burscough vainly appealed for offside, but Fowler finished well to give Padiham a lead that was arguably against the run of play.
Whyte had another shot saved this time on 32 minutes, but then Padiham threatened again and Burscough did well to hold out.
Fowler played a neat ball to put strike partner Tom Hulme in on goal but Burscough goalkeeper Max Povey pulled off a good save and the ball went for a corner. From the flag kick central defender Dean headed wide.
Burscough were still having more of the possession and in the 37th minute Brady got forward again but Aghayere’s full length dive kept him out.
An equaliser was coming and on 40 minutes it duly arrived.
Whyte used his strength to hold off a defender and control a cross, he then looked up and fired the ball into the far corner to make it 1-1.
Burscough completed their turnaround a minute before half-time.
Interestingly Linnets right-winger Terry Cummings tied Dunroe in a knot and crossed the ball into the goal mouth where Matt Ward had left his marker stranded, the Linnets number ten used the space to bring the ball down with his first touch before slotting the ball into the net with his second touch, to give Burscough a 2-1 lead.
However it almost wasn’t a happy interval cuppa for Burscough as only a fine save with his legs by Povey prevented Hulme from levelling things up a minute into added time.
Although the second-half didn’t have quite the same goalmouth action it wasn’t boring at all.
Padiham had more of the possession as they pressed to save the game and Kane Hickman put a shot wide of the Linnets goal on 54 minutes.
But Burscough were very dangerous on the break and after a free-kick was won, Brady had a shot palmed for a corner, from the corner Whyte saw an effort saved.
As the half progressed Whyte was thwarted again by Aghayere, but at the clubhouse end Dean saw an attempt deflected for a corner.
The outcome of the game was far from decided.
Eight minutes from the end Burscough hopes got a huge boost via centre-forward Whyte.
He chested down a long ball then showed the balance of a ballerina as he rounded two defenders before hitting the ball across Aghayere to make it 3-1.
Burscough’s two goal advantage was needed as Padiham certainly didn’t accept their fate.
Liam O’Neill controlled the ball on the edge of the 18 yard box in the 87th minute before firing in a second for Padiham.
It was all hands to the pump for Burscough, and they had to hang on.
They did and might even have had a fourth but Jordan Lorde fired wide of goal.