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Matche Preview: Bootle (H)

Andrew’s Match Preview

Colne v Bootle

NPL West

Holt House

Saturday 5th November - 15:00

Colne return to league action as they welcome Bootle FC of Merseyside, to Holt House.

Bootle Football Club, nicknamed The Bucks, play their home games at Berry Street Garage Stadium, also the latest home of tenants, City of Liverpool. 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.

The Bucks have however struggled this season, especially of late. Out of 13 matches, they have won 4, drawn 2 and lost 7, and are in 16th place with 14 points. Bootle have two 2-1 home victories against City of Liverpool and Witton Albion, and two away wins, 3-2 at Trafford and an excellent 2-1 win at top of the table Macclesfield. 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. Bootle have lost their last 5 games, the last of which was a 1-4 home defeat by Hanley Town, where their manager described his team as “embarrassing”, “no character” and “just not fit enough”.

Bootle players to watch - Prolific striker Ben Hodkinson is in his second spell at the club after rejoining from Widnes two years ago. Last season, Ben scored 26 times in all competitions and has netted 4 times this season including two in the away victory at Macclesfield. Attacker Jack McGowan weighed in with 17 goals in 21/22 and he’s scored 3 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. RB/RWB Jay Roberts is one of the first names on the team sheet since joining the Bucks from Widnes in September ‘21. Bootle have had a minor player exodus in the last month, including the influential and experienced midfielder Andy Scarisbrick, who this week left to join NPL Premier side Marine. Experienced keeper Sam Ashton has departed for Skelmersdale United, former Burnley youngster and left back Matty Rain who only joined in the summer, has moved to Widnes and Declan McLoughlin and Morgan Homson-Smith have both left the club. Young Chester keeper Wyll Stanway has joined on loan for the rest of the season, Ben Roberts has come in from Marine, and experienced Brazilian attacker Nivaldo and former young Salford City midfielder Ben Rydel have both come in on loan from Radcliffe. 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.

Last time out for the Reds - After a well earned first league away win at Glossop North End 1-0, the Reds produced a stunning display in the FA Trophy last weekend thumping NPL Premier side Warrington Rylands 5-0. Phil Brown was finally able to name an unchanged side with Tom McCann taking up the left side role and Craig Carney getting forward to support the strikers. With only 1 minute on the clock, the Reds’ intent was realised, as Carney cooly finished a pass from Owen Watkinson. Rylands tried to hit back after 10 minutes, but Andre Mendes was equal to an effort from former Red Harry Pratt. Three minutes later, a superb 20 yard curling free kick from Oli Roberts doubled Colne’s lead and on 26 minutes a scramble in the Warrington box, due to efforts from first Lusiama, then Knox, led to the linesman flagging that the ball had crossed the line and Owen Watkinson was credited with the goal. Fleetwood loanee Tom Hoyle got in on the act, when a free kick into the Rylands’ area was punched out by Sam Torrance in the Warrington goal, only to fall perfectly for Hoyle who volleyed home for Colne’s fourth. Things got worse for the visitors 7 minutes into the second half when a late challenge from striker Kane Drummond saw him receive a straight red and 10 minutes later it was 5-0 when a mix up at the back left Torrance stranded, and Enock Lusiama rolled a 30 yard strike into the net for his second goal for the club. Rylands’ Jak McCourt hit a post from a 25 yard thunderbolt, but their luck was compounded in the final minutes, when a penalty was mysteriously awarded to them by the referee, only for Mendes to save superbly from Callum Dolan. A five star performance from the Reds, who will now travel to National League North side AFC Fylde in round 2. Bradley Knox’s work rate, break up of play and drives forward, earned him the man of the match.

Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Harry Winstanley is back to full training, and should be ready to integrate back into the squad in two weeks.

Ellis Wallbank is back training fully and he could make the bench.

Jack Doherty is awaiting surgery for his ACL injury.

Aaron Turner is waiting to see a specialist concerning his meniscus knee issue.

Luke Stowe is back in full training from his hamstring injury, and he should be in contention for Saturday.

Kyobe “Danny” McDaniel is recovering from a fractured collar bone and is a couple of weeks away.

Hakan Burton is keeping fit whilst nursing his shoulder injury, and he is responding really well to his rehabilitation.

Team news - Barring any late issues, it could be another unchanged side for Phil Brown’s Reds. Luke Stowe got 20 minutes of action last Saturday since returning from a minor hamstring injury so he’s back pushing for a starting place and Ellis Wallbank should be available for selection after getting back to full training this week. Also likely to make a squad return is Matty Kardacz, who could return quicker then expected after being stood down due to his head injury at Glossop North End. Tom Fagan is another who will hoping for more playing time and Lucas Weaver is an alternative should the impressive physical duo of Watkinson and Lusiama need support.

The Reds’ victory at Glossop in their last league encounter moved them out of the relegation places and into 18th spot, with 11 points from 11 games. Phil Brown will be hoping to kick on now and move further up the table, and indeed 3 points against Bootle would see Colne leap frog the struggling Bucks, who are currently in 16th place. In their last away game, Bootle were beaten 2-1 at Kidsgrove Athletic, despite the home side being reduced to 10 men after only 26 minutes, and further inconvenienced with 6 minutes remaining, when having a second man sent off. Since beating Macclesfield at the beginning of October, the Bucks have only scored 3 times in 5 defeats, conceding 13 goals. Steve McNulty is struggling to find a settled side, made worse by the departures of influential midfielder Andy Scarisbrick on Tuesday, and experienced keeper Sam Ashton moving back to Skelmersdale United a week ago. Colne on the other hand have strengthened in the last few weeks and may well field an unchanged side for the third game running, on the back of two impressive victories. Expect the Reds to heap more misery on the Bucks, overtake them in the table, and continue their recent impressive form. Tails never fails Duggers.

Admission Prices are:

Adults : £9

Concessions & Students with Valid ID: £6

Under 16's: £1

Under 12's: Free

Upcoming games

Tue 8th November - Colne v Witton Albion - 19:45 NPL West

Sat 12th November - Ramsbottom United v Colne - 15:00 NPL West

Sat 19th November - AFC Fylde v Colne - 15:00 FA Trophy 2nd round

Today’s NPL West games - 15:00

City of Liverpool v Newcastle Town

Clitheroe v Runcorn Linnets

Glossop North End v Workington

Hanley Town v Trafford

Kidsgrove Athletic v Prescot Cables

Macclesfield v Skelmersdale United

Mossley v 1874 Northwich

Widnes v Ramsbottom United

Witton Albion v Leek Town


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