28th December 2021 - Burscough FC 0 v 2 Squires Gate - The final game of the year and after a few chores myself and the missus set off and had a scan around several fields near to todays ground. We only saw a few Pink Footed Geese, a flock of Fieldfare and a distant Egret that had all the hallmarks of a Great White. A pop into Tesco for a drink and snacks was had before we parked up at the ground and devoured a large pack of crisps between us. STP Stu arrived soon after and all 3 of us entered and purchased a brew. Fatty me also had some crinkle chips which were ruddy excellent. A walk around the ground followed and seating eventually chosen with the sun dazzling and the chill slowly growing.
We people watched for a while, it was entertaining to say the least with a few hoppers twitching for details, some gas-baggers spouting untold depths of soccer knowledge and some perished buggers not really prepared for a chilly day. 'Tis comforting to know the world is full of harmless nutters.
And to the game!
From the start Burscough won an almost instantaneous free-kick. No 2 (Luke Denson) stepped up and put foot on globe, the effort was both weak and without troubling direction. The action levels remained high, this was a game laden with early fizz and feistiness. A Burscough attack soon followed with a low cross ending with the ball resting on the line before being launched clear - now that was close. The Gate Gang worked hard but couldn't gain enough of an early foothold to make any defining impression. The Burscough bunch came on again, a cross-ball finding No 7 (Conor Christiansen) who fed No 11 (Thomas McNamara) who produced a neat turn and quality strike. The keeper stretched and saved well and from the corner a defensive header nearly resulted in an own goal. The follow-on angled kick produced bugger all.
A splat of middling action came with both units working hard but ultimately just negating each other's chances of posing any threat. The Gate came on, No 7 (Ryan Riley) posted a firm cross, the curly mop of Burscough's No 5 (Mitchell Kinsella) nutted behind for a corner which came and gave rise to a penalty shout - the gent in jet was having none of it. Moments later the same team came again with No 2 (Jacob Ridings) putting in a fine cross that was met by an eager nut. The ball however pinged off the belfry and went wide of the strike zone.
The Squires from the Gate now were on a roll, No 10 (Joel Mills) surged next with great feet exposed and a free-kick won. Riley took the gratis hoof with a good delivery had but some solid defending easing any peril. The Burscough Bandits dug deep, cultivated a free-kick from a seemingly innocuous position. No 9 (Declan Daniels) let fly a sumptuous strike, it was a shame the crossbar wasn't a couple of inches higher as this would have been a decent goal.
The half wound down, the visitors gained the upper hand and turned possession into profit when a corner was won, duly knocked into the penalty box with a nod on ending on the crown of No 6 (Joshua Westwood) who merely pushed on into the onion bag. 0 -1 it was and after a final long range shot from The Gate that failed to double the lead we arrived at the break.
I had a quick piddle during the interval, it was the last vestige of warmth within my body, I expelled the golden fluid with numerous cusses and begrudged muscle squirts. Back in the seat and a cookie was snaffled and the teams were out and ready to roll.
Half-two began, the home team tried to build some immediate impetus and also made a couple of substitutions. Squires Gate seemed happy to bide their time and try and grab the odd bonus. A further goal nearly came when a choice cross caressed the bar and bounced off a striker's face. That would have been a wicked turn of events.
Despite Burscough gaining territory, the opposing force looked unflustered and destined to bag the next strike. In fact the next goal nearly came when the hosts pissed about with the ball at the back, the keeper received and tried to hoof clear only to clatter the globe into the SG No 10 (Joel Mills) - fortunately for the trailing team the ball pinged behind for a goal kick.
No 10 (George Lomax) for Burscough went on a sound run next and made space, fed McNamara who made room, let fly but could only find the keeper's midriff. Squires Gate, in return, prodded and poked like a sexed up prostate doctor, the only thing lacking was any notable penetration. As several passes came and the away team advanced into the box Ridings was tumbled and a penalty was awarded. No 4 (Daniel Gray) stepped up and the ball was sent into the awaiting netted orifice - 0 - 2 - from here, I couldn't see any way back for the hosts.
Time trickled away, flurries came at each end but no further hair-raising moments arose (especially for balding gits like me) and before we knew it, Squires Gate had thoroughly deserved their two-goal win with Man of The Match going to their No 7 (Ryan Riley) who I thought was subtly effective and a grafting element in the midst of a well-drilled and highly determined team.
We pissed off perished after the match, it had been a chiller but far from a thriller, not as though any Squires Gate fan would be complaining.
FINAL THOUGHT - Burscough FC have a great facility here and must be surely looking to push on in many ways during the forthcoming season. The game today displayed a team out of sorts with no real cohesion and just a little lacking in the creativity department. This could be just one of those days or the start of shitty things to come - I reckon matters will be addressed over the next few games this loss can be well and truly forgotten. The team has many tried and tested players - some days though, even that can't help bag the points. Squires Gate were remarkably resilient today and exhibited a strong discipline and organisational threat. The lowly position in no way reflects what transpired on the pitch today and if they can quickly follow-up this away win escapade the season may end on a bright and shiny note. We haven't visited this lot for a few years, hopefully if the twat known as Boris Johnson doesn't stop meddling with society and pissing people about we may get up there before the end of the campaign. Even if we do, I will still regard Bojo as a twat anyway.