Saturday, 6 August 2011

Congleton Town

The opening day of the English season, and Congleton Town entertain Bacup Borough in a North West Counties League Premier Division fixture. It is not that long since Congleton were playing higher up the pyramid, so not surprisingly their Booth Street ground is very impressive for this level. The weather throws up a real mixed bag, plenty of sunshine, but one torrential downpour late on, whilst Bacup's change kit, officially described as tangerine and claret, certainly brightens the day.

Congleton have a new management team, and a totally changed playing staff from last season, and the game offers a contrast in playing styles, the hosts much more direct than Bacup, whose short passing game is good to watch, but sometimes throws up some scary moments in front of their own goal.

It is midway through the second half before the deadlock is broken, ironically after Congleton's best spell when they hit the woodwork twice, Danny Cocks winning a penalty that is converted by Adrian Bellamy. It looks like game over when Cocks is again the creator, a delightful pass freeing substitute Lee Oldham to score, and the Bears frustration shows as joint manager Giuseppe Paladino is dismissed from the dug out.

However, an entertaining afternoon has a final twist, a professional foul by Bacup centre half Adam Turner bringing him a red card, and Matty Walsh the chance to reduce the arrears from the spot. Little more than two minutes remain, but Congleton throw the proverbial kitchen sink at their opponents, and Bacup have to defend a couple more attacks to secure their win.