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04 October 2006
Burscough.............................1 Blyth Spartans.............2 FA Cup 2nd qualifying round Two late goals put an end to Burscough’s FA Cup hopes for another season, as the visitors went back to the North East with a victory won by using the aerial route, writes Neil Leatherbarrow. Burscough had held the lead for almost an hour and looked to be holding out well despite some pressure from the Conference North leaders. Matt Boswell made a comeback for the Linnets as Tony McMillan was out injured. “Bossy” was almost caught out by an awkward ball under the crossbar in the early stages. The ball eventually fell to Blyth striker Robert Dale, whose effort was kept out by Boswell’s fine reaction recovery save. The incident woke Burscough up and soon they were putting Blyth under pressure. In the tenth minute Blyth keeper Adam Bartlett made the first of some excellent saves, forcing a Neil Robinson drive around the nearpost, after Robbie Booth and Dominic Morley worked together to set him up. In the 14th minute Robinson was very unlucky. Morley fired a free-kick into the box, Robinson flicked the ball on, and it looked to be heading into the corner of the net, only to find a defenders boot desperately tipping it onto the crossbar. Morley who was in impressive form was involved in Burscough’s 19th minute goal, when his left wing corner found Kevin Leadbetter on the edge of the penalty box. Leadbetter played the ball low towards goal, and Robinson nipped ahead of the defence and guided the ball home from a few yards out. After 28 minutes Burscough came close to doubling their advantage. Bartlett pulled off an acrobatic save at the nearpost from a Leadbetter blast, after the forward had been set free down the left of the box by a sublime pass inside the defender by Morley. Ten minutes from the interval and for second time the crossbar proved Blyth’s saviour. An excellent dummy by Morley gave Robinson a shooting opportunity, sadly for the Linnets it dipped against the top of the bar. Burscough started after the break as they had ended at the interval. After 54 minutes Robinson headed over the bar. Perhaps a significant moment came on 56 minutes. Linnets’ captain Chris Price stretched as he challenged Paul Catto for the ball. Although Price returned after treatment, Steve McEwan replaced him three minutes later. Afterwards Burscough’s stranglehold on the game gradually eroded, although they still the chance to put the game out of Blyth’s grasp. The first warning of what was to come came on 70 minutes. Andrew Leeson swept the ball into the area, Dale headed on and Appleby produced a poor effort from a good position. The game could or should have been all over on 72 minutes. Robinson who otherwise had a tremendous game was presented with a one on one with visiting keeper Bartlett. Arguably Robinson had too much time and was caught in two minds, he neither shot nor dribbled around the keeper, stubbing his effort for a goal-kick. The mistake did unfortunately prove costly. Blyth were now committing men forwards in numbers in a frantic search for an equaliser. As Anthony Lowther swung a 77th minute free-kick in from the right, defender Snowden rose at the far post to head home. Buoyed by the goal Blyth for the first time looked the better side, previously they were making little impression on a well organised home defence. Burscough were still dangerous on the breakaway and Booth had another good attempt blocked on 85 minutes. The heartbreaking goal for Burscough arrived after one minute of injury time already played. Dale who had a quiet game for a man with his reputation finally won a battle with White for the ball. He lobbed the ball into the goalmouth, and substitute Michael Hedley gaining extra height from a run at the cross, headed the ball over Boswell for Blyth’s winner.


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