Winsford United 1 Bootle 2
THE Blues bowed out of the Vodkat League Challenge Cup in disappointing fashion with too many players under performing against a Bootle side that worked hard for one another and took their chances when they came.
The game began in lively fashion with chances for both teams in the first minute. Kevin Black found himself with only Michael Langley to beat but he put his shot wide and at the other end Danny Webster’s header drifted just wide. With the wind behind them Michael Langley’s kicks were often too strong for the forwards but one such kick on 18 minutes was collected by Les Miranda, however goalkeeper Mark Mawdsley was quickly off his line to snuff out the danger. The Blues back four were not quite so dominant in the air as they have been in recent matches and Jamie Hay was unlucky to see his header drift just wide of the post. Further efforts by Miranda and Lee Duckworth proved fruitless but as half time approached Miranda’s clever chip beat everyone but bounced off the bar to safety.
Winsford’s weakness in giving too many free kicks away cost them dearly in the first minute after the break when John Martin inswinger from the right was headed home by an unmarked Hay. The Blues kept on the pressure and Chris Sheppard and Miranda both had shots blocked on the line but on 74 minutes they fell for the sucker punch. When Dan O’Connor collected the ball on the halfway line there seemed little danger but with the wind behind him he spotted Langley on the edge of his area and he launched a 50-yard effort that saw the goalkeeper scurrying back only to see the bar fall under the bar and into the net.
Stung by the setback the hosts immediately pulled back one of the goals need to take the tie into extra time when Dean Ennion’s free kick was poked home by Lee Thompson. There followed a period of sustained pressure on the Bootle goal but the nearest they came was on 90 minutes when Thompson’s effort was ruled out for offside.
Winsford Travelled to St Helens last night (Tuesday March 25th 7.45pm) and next Saturday they entertain Trafford, the team that are now clear promotion favourites (3.00pm).
UNITED: Langley; Calland, Owens, Webster, Duckworth; Bluck, Ennion’s, Sheppard, Kennedy (Mason 62/Thompson for Mason 70); Madin, Miranda.