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Match Preview: Bootle (A)

Andrew’s Match Preview

Bootle v Colne

Berry Street Garage Stadium

NPL West

Saturday 26th March - 15:00

Colne travel 53 miles South-West to Merseyside to take on Bootle FC in the NPL West.

Bootle Football Club, nicknamed The Bucks were founded in their present form in 1953 and play their home games at Berry Street Garage Stadium, also the latest home of tenants, City of Liverpool. Their average attendance this season is 502.

In the head to head with the Reds last season Bootle won both games. A double by Ben Hodkinson earned a 2-0 win at Holt house last October, and in January the Bucks ran out 3-0 winners with strikes from the 3 Macs - McGowan, McDonald and McLoughlin. Bootle had a progressive season finishing in 7th place. In the reverse fixture at Holt House in November, a Craig Carney equaliser 10 minutes from time rescued a point for the Reds who had trailed to a Jack McGowan first half goal.

The Bucks have however struggled to kick on this season. Out of 32 matches, they have won 10, drawn 9 and lost 13, and are in 14th place with 39 points. At home this season they have beaten City of Liverpool 2-1, Witton Albion 2-1, Skelmersdale United 2-1, 1874 Northwich 2-0 and Prescot Cables 3-1. An early exit in the FA Cup at the Preliminary stage due to a home defeat by Congleton Town 1-4 in a replay, wasn’t improved upon in the FA Trophy, where they went down 0-3 at home to Dunston. In their last game, Bootle were beaten 0-2 at Hanley Town and in their last home fixture, goals from Nivaldo and Millington weren’t enough to prevent a 2-3 loss to Runcorn Linnets.

Bootle players to watch - Striker Tom Peterson was a scholer at Fleetwood Town before joining the Bucks. He left to play for City of Liverpool before returning and scoring 14 goals last season. Tom has 12 goals to his name so far this term.

Attacker Jack McGowan weighed in with 17 goals in 21/22 and he’s scored 8 times so far this term. A fans favourite, Jack has been at the club for 6 years, previously playing at this level with Cammell Laird 1907.

An excellent September signing was former Tranmere pro Jacques Welsh. 21 year old Jacques, was a highly thought of defender/midfielder at Runcorn Linnets before joining Bootle and he’s made 28 appearances this season.

Club captain Jay McCarten joined the Bucks in the summer from City of Liverpool. The defender was a youth at Everton and has also played for Warrington Town.

Tough tackling Simon Wills played for Lancaster City for 10 years before joining Bootle. The 31 year old defensive midfielder has represented the Bucks 30 times this season.

Former Curzon Ashton stopper Josh Ollerenshaw was drafted in last December to take the number 1 jersey, after loanee Wyll Stanway switched to Macclesfield. This vastly experienced 32 year old began his career at Oldham Athletic and was once in the England C team squad.

Another keeper, Curtis Anderson signed for the Bucks a couple of weeks ago after being released by Lancaster City. The 22 year old began his career as a youth at Manchester City.

James Cooper is a versatile defender who signed for the Bucks in September’21. Former captain at Prescot Cables, Jay has made 25 appearances so far this season.

Midfielder Connor Millington has been at the club since 2017. Connor has NPL experience with Warrington Town and he has scored 5 times in 22 games this season.

Nivaldo Rodrigues Ferreira is a 34 year old Brazilian striker on loan from Radcliffe. He has played most of his career in Russia and Belorussia and he has scored 4 times since joining in October.

After Brian Richardson was relieved of his duties as manager in August, the Bucks turned to former EFL player and Chester’s assistant manager, Steve McNulty. McNulty has had a tough season losing key players and struggling to stop the Bucks’ demise down the table and he resigned on Wednesday. Former Warrington Rylands and Macclesfield manager Dave McNabb has been named as his successor.

Last time out for the Reds - An out of sorts Newcastle Town arrived at Holt House on Saturday afternoon not looking forward to a rain soddened greasy pitch, which barely passed a 2pm inspection. Phil Brown named 2 changes to the side which lost 1-2 at Sklemersdale United in their last outing. Jacob Bridges made his 1st start replacing Glenn Steel in the centre of defence and Lucas Weaver returned to the side coming in for Jake Forshaw. Although the lineup was expected, the formation certainly wasn’t, as the Reds set up in a nullifying 4231, for a must win 6 pointer. Kardacz and Doyle played as holding midfielders with Carney in front and Stowe and Weaver either side. Watkinson lead the line as Colne ominously kicked downhill for the first 45. Clear cut chances were scarce as both sides struggled to find any authority in possession. Despite defending the hill, the 18 year old Town keeper Alfie Roberts making his debut, was surprisingly barely troubled until the 24th minute, when Newcastle switched off and Owen Watkinson took advantage and scored with a cross shot into the left hand corner. Luke Walsh was particularly lively and dangerous for the visitors as they searched for an equaliser and Burton had to react well to keep out a Luke Dennis header. In the 2nd half Colne tried to slow the game down and defend their lead, relying on counter attacks as Castle dominated possession and took advantage of pressing down the slope. Just after the hour mark, Weaver was replaced by Tom McCann, and Danny Kyobe came on for Stowe, as the Reds began to defend deeper. Burton saved from Walsh and with only a few minutes on the clock a Colne counter saw Kyobe race into the Castle half for a 2 on 1 against Roberts, but the young keeper ably managed to smother Carney’s certain goal.

As regular time was almost up, one Colne supporter described their deep defence as being “almost in Keighley” as Kyle Stubbs launched a throw into the Reds’ box and Joe Thompson headed home the inevitable equaliser. Town’s 2nd half momentum didn’t stop there, and with 4 minutes of added time they went for a winner. A free kick down their right hand side was launched in by their manager’s son Jack Van Der Laan and the Newcastle skipper James Askey rose at the far post and thumped home a header giving Burton no hope. A devastating defeat for the Reds and this 14th loss of the season meant that they dropped down another place to 18th spot, with 31 points from 31 games, just 1 point above automatic relegation. Owen Watkinson’s 9th goal of the season and overall work rate earned him Colne’s man of the match.

With just 7 league victories in 31 outings, first team coach Phil Brown was relieved of his duties on Sunday afternoon, as the Colne Chairmen look to try and change the direction of the 1st team’s fortunes in line with their positive off the field achievements. Former Burnley midfielder Paul Weller was quickly named as interim manager until the end of the season.

Who’s on Ashh’s couch - Left back Ben Anderson is nursing a groin injury and will have to sit this one out and Glenn Steel is missing due to a back issue. Jack Doherty is recovering from surgery on his ACL injury and will begin his rehabilitation when ready under the watchful eye of Accrington Stanley. This injury has ruled him out for the season.

Team news - Craig Carney has left the club and signed for Hyde United in the NPL Premier league and Jake Forshaw has returned to Oldham Athletic. Alex Doyle has had his loan spell extended until the end of the season. Defensive midfielder Edward Elewa-Ikpakwu has come in from Lancaster City. The 22 year old Nigerian can also play in defence and he represented Man City, Stoke and Leicester at youth level. Teenage right winger Malick Diakite has been added to the squad to help bolster the attack. Malick was a youth at Clitheroe before joining Runcorn Linnets. Other new additions to the Colne squad include Finley Devenney a centre half in from Nelson and former Red, veteran midfielder Gary Stopforth. New manager Paul Weller will have a squad of around 20 to choose from.

Bootle have won just twice this calendar year, both 1-0 away wins at Workington and Ramsbottom United. Last Saturday they suffered a poor result away at 19th placed Hanley Town 0-2. The Bucks haven’t won at home since beating Prescot Cables on Boxing Day. In their last home game they were beaten by the odd goal in 5 by Runcorn Linnets. They’ll be disappointed with their league position so far this season, because despite their poor form they still have quality in their side. Welsh and McCarten are a well thought of central defensive pairing, Wills does the ugly stuff in the middle of the park accompanied by Millington’s guile and goal threat and despite losing star striker Ben Hodkinson to Marine last month, they still have plenty of attacking options up front. Their manager Steve McNulty resigned mid-week and new boss Dave McNabb will be looking for the bounce factor in his first game in charge.

The Reds have also only won twice in 2023; home wins over Runcorn Linnets 1-0 and Glossop North End 3-0. They haven’t won away since beating Newcastle Town 1-0 back in November. Last week the Reds were mugged at home to Newcastle Town late on and in their last away fixture - a 1-2 loss at Skelmersdale United - they were denied by an outstanding 2nd half goalkeeping performance from a young loanee debutant. With Paul Weller and Gerry Harrison taking over in the dugout, they’ll be hoping they can bring their football league experience to the fore, integrate a couple of eye catching signings into the first eleven and give the travelling Red Army plenty to sing about with a front foot positive showing.

Admission Prices are:

Adults : £8

Concessions : £4

Under 16's: Free

Under 14’s must be accompanied by an adult

Bootle Football Club

Berry Street Garage Stadium

Vesty Business Park


L30 1 NY

Upcoming games

Tues 28th March - Colne v Workington - 19:45 NPL West

Sat 1st April - Colne v Ramsbottom United - 15:00 NPL West

Sat 8th April - Colne v Widnes - 15:00 NPL West

Today’s NPL West games - 15:00

1874 Northwich v Mossley

Leek Town v Witton Albion

Newcastle Town v City ofLiverpool

Prescot Cables v Kidsgrove Athletic

Ramsbottom v Widnes

Runcorn Linnets v Clitheroe

Skelmersdale United v Macclesfield

Trafford v Hanley Town

Workington v Glossop North End


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