MATCH REPORTS - SEASON 2001/2

Unibond League Premier Division
Friday, 3rd May 2002
Lancaster City... 0  Burscough... 3
Those fans who made their way north for the final game of the season were well rewarded with a splendid display of attacking football from the Linnets who played as though they were enjoying it, in great contrast to the anxieties and relegation worries of the last few games.  As early as the third minute Mike Mason's header from a right wing cross seemed to be on target but was somehow fingertipped round the post by Lancaster keeper Banks but on 11 minutes he was left helpless as a fine move ended with Mason playing the ball through to Steve Alty who had timed his run perfectly and smashed a 15-yard first-time shot into the near top corner. Lancaster's best chance came on 24 minutes when Kevan headed just over and then a minute later Steve Alty, through on goal on the right, seemed to be brought down but with no reaction from the referee. Burscough looked dangerous with every attack and seemed to have got their just reward eight minutes before the break as a fine crossfield pass put Marvin Molyneux clear down the right.  The linesman briefly raised his flag as Jonjo Dann strayed into an offside position but lowered it again as Marvin strode on and fired past a helpless Banks.  The referee awarded the goal with no objection from the linesman and the players were well on their way back to the centre circle when a deputation of Lancaster players with some assistance from the crowd persuaded the two officials to consult and the original decision was overturned and a free-kick awarded.  The Linnets went into half-time feeling rather badly done by.
In the opening seconds of the second half Mason's shot from Dann's low cross was blocked by the keeper and Molloy failed to convert the rebound.  Five minutes later, Mason's cross found Molloy again who hit the side-netting after delaying the shot slightly too long.  The missed chances were nearly regretted as Lancaster's leading scorer Whittaker put one just wide but the Linnets strong approach play was causing havoc in the Lancaster defence with Molyneux in particular having an outstanding game and on 71 minutes they got what they deserved as Mason fired home a fine shot from the edge of the area.  With seven minutes left veteran Ray Birch, probably playing his last game for the club, did a perfect David Beckham impression and curled a free-kick from 25 yards into the top corner to round off a splendid team performance.
The Linnets finish in 18th position in the league with 50 points - compared to 15th and 52 points last season.  Disappointing perhaps, but the loss of leading scorer Lee McEvilly before Christmas, the loss of manager John Davison in March, and the absence through injury for most of the season of last year's Player of the Year, Andy McMullen, have all had their effect. However, tonight's performance at Lancaster and the recent exploits of the reserve and youth teams, must give cause for optimism for the future.
Burscough: Taylor, Birch, Evans, Molyneux, White, Alty (Lawless 67), Molloy, Knowles, Mason (Toohey 85), Dann (Nolan 82), Bowen
Subs: Nolan, Lawless, Toohey



Lancashire FA Youth Cup Final
Tuesday, 30th April 2002
Burscough... 6  Morecambe... 2  (after extra time)
The youth team deservedly collected their second trophy within a week at the County Ground, Leyland.  In a flying start, Colin McDonald shot under the Morecambe keeper after 11 minutes and five minutes later Mike Richardson made it two with a tremendous 20 yard drive just inside the post.  McDonald shot wide when well placed, Sawtell headed over from a free-kick and Richardson rattled the upright as Burscough dominated the game with some excellent controlled football.
In the second half, Morecambe as expected fought back hard, took control of the game, and had achieved equality at 2-2 with only 60 minutes gone.  It was not looking good for the Linnets at this stage but they weathered the storm and gradually fought their way back into it.  McGlinchey just failed to make proper contact with a left wing cross in the dying seconds and the game went into extra time but was soon settled as Dominic Bird headed a right wing cross over the keeper to regain the lead.  Richardson's shot, after rounding the keeper and then negotiating several defenders, was handled on the line by a Morecambe defender, who duly received his marching orders, and Steve Hussey converted from the spot.  Morecambe had no answer and were totally dismantled with further goals from McDonald and substitute Dave Mason in the second period.
Steve Hussey duly collected the trophy after a magnificently entertaining game of football which was a credit to both sides.

Unibond League Premier Division
Saturday, 27th April 2002
Frickley Athletic... 3  Burscough... 0
Frickley had the better of the early chances, Chambers shooting over from close range after a left wing cross from Prendergast.  The Linnets should have opened their account on 11 minutes when Frickley keeper Wilkinson spilled a high cross and in the ensuing scramble Mike Mason shot over an empty goal from ten yards when all he had to do was hit the target.  Evans bounced a header on the bar for Frickley and Taylor was fortunately in the right place to hold another close range header from Collins.
In the first minute of the second half Mike Mason's effort on spotting the keeper off his line was just over the bar from 25 yards.  Myers then sliced a good chance wide for Frickley after a cross from the left but a minute later on 57 minutes they took the lead through Collins after his first attempt was blocked by Taylor.  On 68 minutes it was 2-0 with the best goal of the game.  Prendergast's weaving run past three men down the left ended with a pass inside to Collins who hit a wicked dipping shot over Taylor from 25 yards.  Taylor dived to push another long-range effort round the post then on 78 minutes made another excellent block but the rebound fell for Prendergast to lob into the top right corner for Frickley's third, thus concluding a very disappointing second half for the Linnets.  Michael White made his full first team debut and gave a solid performance throughout while young Michael Atherton got 5 minutes at the end.
Colwyn Bay's 5-0 defeat at Bradford means that the Linnets are assured of Premier Division football next season (barring ridiculous accidents to a superior goal difference of 16).  It would have been welcome however if safety had been achieved by their own efforts rather than relying on the failings of other teams.  In view of the still perilous position at the start of this game, the lack of commitment (with certain exceptions) from many green shirts was rather disappointing.
Burscough: Taylor, Evans, Molloy, Molyneux, Nolan, White, Lawless (Dann 78), Knowles, Mason, Birch (Atherton 85), Bowen
Subs: Dann, Alty, Atherton

Liverpool FA Youth Cup Final
Thursday, 25th April 2002
Burscough... 2  Tiber... 1
The Youth Team completed a hat-trick of Liverpool Youth Cup wins when they defeated Liverpool side Tiber 2-1 this evening.  Tiber led with a 14th minute penalty but Burscough got on top and Richardson scored the equaliser on 38 minutes after McGlinchey had hit the top of the bar and seen a shot cleared off the line and Mason had side-footed wide from a Sawtell cross when it seemed easier to score.  Tiber had two great chances during the half but were foiled by keeper Ian Lowe.
The Linnets surprisingly went off the boil at the start of the second half and Tiber took the initiative but on 71 minutes their keeper brought down a green shirt just inside the area. Hussey stepped up to score from the spot and there was only one winner from then on.
Unibond League Premier Division

Saturday, 20th April 2002
Gateshead... 2  Burscough... 0
The conditions - a hard bumpy pitch, bare of grass in places - produced a game that was probably the most boring and least entertaining of the entire season with good football in short supply from both sides. After 12 minutes Marvin Molyneux shot just wide of the post from the edge of the area and on the half-hour mark Matty Taylor had to come out smartly to block from Gateshead's Lawson but both keepers had little to do.  Lee Furlong was becoming involved in a niggling battle with Gateshead's No. 3 Morgan and was eventually spoken to by the referee as he became increasingly frustrated.  With a minute of the half left Furlong was quite rightly pulled up for offside as he broke clear but hammered the ball in the direction of the Gateshead keeper and was promptly booked by the referee for unsporting conduct but then declined to let the matter rest and stupidly got himself dismissed for dissent to leave the Linnets an uphill task in the second half with only one forward up front.  Jonjo Dann took over that role on 55 minutes but departed on a stretcher less than 20 minutes later with a dislocated shoulder.
Gateshead were having most of the play without troubling Matty Taylor and the game seemed to be drifting towards the inevitable 0-0 and a priceless point for the Linnets as the 90th minute was reached.  We really should have known better - the old injury-time hoodoo struck yet again!  The ball bobbed around from a right wing corner and finally fell for Jones to find the bottom corner from close range and to add insult to injury a speculative 25-yard shot from Bowman found the same spot after an outrageous bobble over Matty Taylor's outstretched hands.   Rough justice indeed for the ten men who had battled well in the second half but they had been let down badly by the eleventh member who was no longer out there!
Burscough: Taylor, Leahy, Evans, Molyneux, Nolan, Alty (Dann 55, Mason 74), Molloy, Knowles, Lawless, Furlong, Bowen
Subs: Mason, Dann, White

Unibond League Premier Division
Monday, 15th April 2002
Emley... 3  Burscough... 0
The first three minutes set the pattern for much of what followed as Mike Mason shot weakly at the keeper from wide on the right and Steve Alty shot wide from a reasonable position on the edge of the area.  Emley were also wide with a 20-yarder but took the lead after only 9 minutes when Ryan Bowen failed to cut out a cross-field ball which put Emley striker Simeon Bambrook in the clear down the left and his finish to the far corner left Taylor helpless.  Alty again shot over after a corner was played back in by Mike Mason and then on 23 minutes John Lawless robbed a defender in midfield and broke through straight down the middle but with only the keeper to beat seemed strangely hesitant and the resulting rebound off the keeper's foot refused to fall kindly for Mason - a golden opportunity squandered.  A minute later Lee Furlong limped off to be replaced by Jonjo Dann.  Burscough were totally dominating the possession but it was Emley who came closest when a tremendous effort from 25 yards struck the angle of the woodwork.
The second half continued with the Linnets even more in control but they were not making the final breakthrough to trouble Cuss in the Emley goal and the finishing was constantly weak and off target.  The inevitable finally happened on 74 minutes as Emley saw one of their infrequent attacks pay off.  Matty Taylor was caught stranded at the side of his area and Bambrook calmly made space and lofted a shot from 25 yards into an empty net.  Bambrook then completed his hat-trick on 90 minutes when allowed time and space to run down the middle and beat Taylor easily.
A disappointing evening for the Linnets who must ponder as to how they came to lose a game by 3-0 after having 70% of the possession.
Burscough: Taylor, Molyneux, Molloy, Leahy (White 87), Nolan, Alty (Toohey 83), Lawless, Knowles, Mason, Furlong (Dann 24), Bowen
Subs: Alty, White, Toohey

Unibond League Premier Division
Saturday, 13th April 2002
Burscough... 1  Runcorn FC Halton... 3
In this battle of the two Linnets Burscough got off to a shaky start with the defence absent without leave at the far post as McNeil controlled a cross from the right and netted easily to give Runcorn the lead after only 5 minutes. Three minutes later Matty Taylor came to the rescue with a double save at the feet of a Runcorn forward totally in the clear and shortly afterwards Runcorn missed another chance with the home defence again in disarray.  Billy Knowles just failed to get his head to a free-kick and Ray Birch headed wide from an excellent Marvin Molyneux cross as Burscough finally got themselves into the game.  The equaliser came on 21 minutes as Lee Furlong latched on to a ball just inside the area and produced a perfect chip over the advancing Runcorn keeper.  Mike Mason was then fouled as his cross created havoc in the Runcorn defence but Ray Birch's free kick was scrambled clear.  There was certainly no lack of incident in this game and on the half hour Runcorn somehow missed two golden opportunities after a free kick on the right.  Andy Barlow then came to the rescue a minute later with a clearing header off the line as Runcorn attacked again. Half time arrived with the scores still level although it could quite easily have been around 5-2 to Runcorn.
Tommy Molloy replaced an injured Andy Barlow at half-time and was immediately in the action with a fine ball through to Mike Mason whose 20 yard effort was just wide, but Runcorn went ahead on 48 minutes as a cross from the left was knocked back in at the far post for Cowley to score from close range.  Dann and Evans shot just wide for Burscough as play continued end-to-end.  Ged Nolan headed wide from a free kick as did Runcorn at the other end.  Mike Mason had a header blocked on the line on 75 minutes and Lee Furlong who had worked tremendously hard all game couldn't quite get enough power into a header after a nice bit of skill from substitute John Lawless and then shot just wide.  Runcorn sealed it with two of six injury time minutes gone as Cowley's effort from a left wing corner was ruled to have crossed the line despite a desperate clearance from the Burscough defence.
All in all, an entertaining last home game of the season but unfortunately with no reward.
Burscough: Taylor, Evans, Bowen, Molyneux, Nolan, Barlow (Molloy 46), Mason, Knowles, Dann (Lawless 69), Furlong, Birch (Leahy 71).
Subs: Molloy, Lawless, Leahy.

Unibond League Premier Division
Tuesday, 9th April 2002
Droylsden... 3  Burscough... 1
The first fifteen minutes established the pattern for this game as Burscough's John Lawless saw his 25-yard shot come back off the crossbar in the second minute and thirteen minutes later a cross by Droylsden's Mark Bradshaw was headed into his own net by Tommy Molloy to give the Manchester side the lead.  It took a fine full length save from keeper Paul Phillips to prevent Ray Birch putting the Linnets level on the 34 minute mark but within ninety seconds the home side were two ahead with a goal of rare quality.  bradshaw put Steve Porter clear down the left with a slide rule pass and the former Burscough player unleashed a thunderous volley that failrly flew past Taylor into the top corner.
Molyneux and Lawless both went close before the Linnets pulled a goal back on 57 minutes through Mike Mason who reacted quickest to turn the ball past a stranded Phillips after a left wing corner was headed towrds goal by Furlong.  Fourteen minutes from time Burscough were guilty of poor marking from a right wing corner and Darren Wright was allowed too much space to head home a third and deciding goal for Droylsden.
Burscough: Taylor, Evans, Molloy (Dann 86), Molyneux, Nolan, Barlow, Lawless (Leahy 80), Knowles, Mason, furlong, Birch (Alty 80).
Subs: Leahy, Alty, Dann

Unibond League Premier Division
Monday, 1st April 2002
Burscough... 0  Burton Albion... 0
In front of a crowd of 531, the largest league attendance for over 30 years, the Linnets completed a very satisfactory weekend by holding FA Trophy Semi-Finalists and Unibond Champions-to-be Burton Albion to a goalless draw.  Burton's manager Nigel Clough was in their starting line-up at No.10.
The game started surprisingly quietly and Burscough's first effort of note came on 11 minutes as Mike Mason shot on the run but over the bar.  Burton retaliated with plenty of neat football and a shot across the face of the Burscough goal.  Lee Furlong was obviously struggling after receiving a knock early on and it was no surprise when he had to call it quits after 25 minutes to be substituted by Steve Leahy, which left Mike Mason ploughing something of a lone furrow up front with Billy Knowles helping out whenever possible.
Matty Taylor denied Burton with a superb block after 38 minutes and play immediately switched to the other end where, after the best move of the half, Mike Mason's effort was blocked and from the rebound John Lawless, six yards out in front of goal, somehow sliced the ball up into the air with the Burton defence in disarray.
A sudden change in the elements at half-time found the Linnets facing wind and rain at the start of the second half but managing for the most part to keep Burton at bay, aided by a couple of fine saves from Matty Taylor.  A Lawless cross from the bye-line on 55 minutes was fumbled by Burton keeper Duke but the ball refused to fall to a green shirt and Marvin Molyneux shot over the top from wide on the right. A defensive slip nearly let Burton in but from close range the ball was prodded over the bar.  Burton seemed to be fairly content with their point and for once there was no nasty sting in the tail from the home point of view - the stalemate remained unbroken and the Linnets acquired another well-earned point with their second successive clean sheet.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Molloy, Molyneux, Nolan, Barlow, Lawless, Knowles, Mason, Furlong (Leahy 25), Birch (Alty 84).
Subs:  Alty, Leahy, Dann

Unibond League Premier Division
Saturday, 30th March 2002
Altrincham... 0  Burscough... 3


Jon-jo Dann is stretchered off after only 12 minutes


Andy Barlow, Gareth Evans, Matty Taylor and Ray Birch on defensive duties


Matty to the rescue again with Ged Nolan looking on.

Acknowledgements for the above pictures from the match to Alan Johnson at Altrincham FC and his web-site at

www.altyfc.unet.com

After five consecutive defeats, the Linnets well and truly stopped the rot with a superb victory against the mighty Altrincham who were themselves on a run of six games without a win.  New signing Jonjo Dann again started promisingly, winning balls in the air, but was unfortunately  stretchered off after only 12 minutes after putting in an over-enthusiastic challenge and coming off worst with an ankle injury - Mike Mason substituted.  Burscough however were well in the game.  A Lee Furlong cross was cut out by keeper Coburn and John Lawless failed to control a sliced clearance and shot over the bar.  At the other end, Altrincham shot across the face of goal with no-one to supply a finishing touch.  The best chance came on 35 minutes as a lovely through ball played in Ray Birch who almost rounded the keeper and John Lawless couldn't quite take advantage of the rebound as the Altrincham defence scrambled back to cover.  Lee Furlong had the ball in the net two minutes later but the flag was up for offside and then headed wide from a Mike Mason cross. Altrincham came close in injury time with a cross shot just the wrong side of the post.
Within a minute of the restart the Linnets were in front.  A ball played forward into the box found Lee Furlong eluding the defence to comfortably beat the advancing Coburn.  Altrincham then had two great chances to equalise but shot wide from good positions and Matty Taylor made a great save from a free-kick.  Birch, Lawless and Mason all shot over as Burscough attacked with some promise and a Lawless cross to the far post was just too high for Lee Furlong.  On 75 minutes a low cross from the right found Billy Knowles with time and space to double the lead and the icing was applied to the cake with 90 minutes up as Mike Mason applied the finishing touch to a Steve Leahy free-kick after his initial header came back off the post - just reward for a solid hard-working display by the youngster.
All-in-all, a splendid team performance to gain three much-needed and thoroughly deserved points.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Molloy, Molyneux, Nolan, Barlow, Lawless, Knowles, Dann (Mason 12), Furlong, Birch (Leahy 78).
Subs:  Leahy, Mason, Alty


Unibond League Premier Division
Saturday, 23rd March 2002
Burscough... 2  Worksop Town... 3
Up against Worksop for the second successive week, the Linnets fielded a new signing in 21-year old striker Jon-Jo Dann from League of Wales side Portmadoc.  It was also a welcome change to play a home match at last in pleasant weather conditions.
There was an early escape for the home side as Worksop shot high and wide with Matty Taylor stranded out of his goal and John Lawless shot over the bar as the Linnets exerted pressure and looked quite lively.  With 14 minutes gone Lee Furlong made space for himself on the edge of the area and hit a tremendous shot which had Worksop keeper Holmshaw beaten all ends up but the ball bounced down off the bar.  Marvin Molyneux was on hand to sweep in the rebound but was inexplicably denied what seemed a perfectly good goal by an offside flag.  Lawless shot weakly when well-placed and a dodgy defensive back-header almost caused Holmshaw some concern. Burscough went in front deservedly on 38 minutes when Ray Birch's shot from 15 yards was deflected and found the bottom corner after some good work from Furlong.
New signing Dann looked a little short of full match fitness but was nevertheless trying hard and put a snap-shot just wide on 56 minutes but three minutes later Worksop equalised as Gavin Smith headed home from a left wing corner with the Burscough marking non-existent.  Dann was again just off target with a header from a corner but with ten minutes left it was Gavin Smith again who put Worksop in the lead from close range despite Taylor getting a hand to it.  On 83 minutes Mike Mason replaced Gareth Evans and with his first touch went clear down the left and pulled the ball back for new signing Dann to strike a low first-time shot which went in off the post.  This appeared to have been an inspired substitution but unfortunately the Linnets then seemed to forget that their No. 2 had left the field.  Worksop swept down the left given acres of space and the situation was retrieved only with some difficulty.  Not learning the lesson the Burscough defence then repeated the mistake on 86 minutes and despite a brilliant block by Matty Taylor, Todd somehow scrambled in the rebound and what would have been a hard-earned point disappeared into thin air yet again.
This fifth successive defeat drops Burscough to 15th place in the league table and with games against Altrincham and Burton Albion to come over Easter the alarm bells are starting to ring rather too loudly for comfort.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans (Mason 83), Barlow, Molyneux, Nolan, Lawless, Birch (Alty 68), Knowles, Dann, Furlong, Bowen.
Subs:  Molloy, Mason, Alty

Unibond League Premier Division
Saturday, 16th March 2002
Worksop Town... 3  Burscough... 1
After a quiet opening the game developed into an end-to-end affair.  Worksop were first to threaten with a shot across the face of goal which went wide.  Lee Furlong shot just over with a first-time effort from a difficult angle and then Matty Taylor had to be alert to save smartly at the feet of an advancing Woksop forward.  Marvin Molyneux and Tommy Molloy were both guilty of weak finishes from promisimg positions before the home side took the lead on 35 minutes. A cross from the left just eluded Andy Barlow, starting a game in the first team for the first time, and Gavin Smith took advantage with a good finish across Taylor into the far corner.  Lee Furlong shot straight at the keeper from the edge of the area and a Steve Leahey cross was fortuitously deflected for a corner as the Linnets went in for half-time probably slightly unfortunate to be behind.
Injuries caused a re-shuffle at half time with Steve Alty and John Lawless on in place of Leahy and Dugdale.  Marvin Molyneux immediately struck a powerful effort just wide and for the first ten minutes of the half Burscough seemed to be taking control - but then it all suddenly changed.  On 57 minutes Cropper increased Worksop's lead after a bit of a scramble and only a minute later an excellent low cross from the right left Todd with a simple knock-in at the far post.  Lee Furlong then pulled one back on 63 minutes when presented with a chance from a few yards out but any thoughts of a come-back disappeared three minutes later when Ryan Bowen, who had already been booked, was dismissed for bringing down a Worksop forward when in the position of last line of defence - no complaints really about that one.  That effectively ended the game as a contest but the ten men at least battled on gamely to the end without any further disaster.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Barlow, Molyneux, Nolan, Molloy, Leahy (Alty 45), Knowles, Dugdale (Lawless 45), Furlong, Bowen
Subs:  Lawless, Bennett, Alty

Unibond League Premier Division
Saturday, 9th March 2002
Burscough... 1  Blyth Spartans... 2
Conditions at Victoria Park were very windy yet again for what seems to be the umpteenth game in succession but with wind advantage the Linnets started quite brightly in their first game of the post-Davison era.  After 4 minutes Lee Furlong had a shot blocked and Steve Leahy's effort from about 15 yards was deflected off a defender into the far corner.  This early lead did not last long and three minutes later a needless hand-ball in the area by Ged Nolan gave Blyth a penalty which Robson rammed straight down the middle to level the scores.  A corner from Chris Stanton  was deflected against the outside of the post and then from a Tommy Molloy cross Billy Knowles' first time flick was unfortunately straight at the keeper.  Blyth were coming more into the game and forced three successive corners after Matty Taylor had saved superbly.  Just before half time, Lee Furlong was fouled on the edge of the area and Steve Leahy's free-kick was inches too high.
In the second half, Blyth began to look more menacing in attack and alarm bells began to ring as a header from a left wing cross went just over the angle of the woodwork and a free-kick from 25 yards just fizzed past the foot of the post. Burscough's light-weight forwards were making little headway.  Their best chance came on 75 minutes but Tommy Molloy's shot from Lee Furlong's through ball was too high and on 82 minutes the inevitable happened when Lee Scroggins scored for Blyth with a cracking 25 yarder which gave Taylor no chance - a goal from the moment it left his foot. The Linnets applied some late pressure; Billy Knowles just failed to make contact with a loose ball and Ged Nolan had a header scrambled away, but it was all to no avail as another three points disappeared into the distance on the wind.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, Molloy(Alty 75), Leahy, Knowles, Furlong, Dugdale, Bowen
Subs:  Bennett, Alty, Barlow

UniBond League Premier Division
Monday 4th March 2002
Hyde United... 3  Burscough... 2
Early exchanges were fairly even.  Ged Nolan was just wide with a header at the far post after a corner had been nodded on and at the other end Hyde were also close with a header. The Linnets were playing some neat football but without creating too many openings and on 22 minutes Dave Dugdale shot wide with an opportunity from 20 yards.  There had been an incredible number of stoppages during the first half for injuries to players of both sides and Hyde capitalised on this in the sixth minute of injury time as they made space down the right and a low cross from the bye-line was headed home easily by Evans.
On 58 minutes Andy Barlow came on in place of Steve Leahy to make his first team debut and within a minute Burscough had equalised.  Chris Stanton's lobbed free-kick from 30 yards out was nodded down and back by Billy Knowles and Tommy Molloy's low shot found the back of the net.  This goal unfortunately seemed to stir Hyde into action rather than the Linnets.  They rattled the Burscough cross-bar and on 67 minutes Maiden was allowed to run through unchallenged to shoot past Taylor.  Tommy Molloy was troubling Hyde with some strong runs from midfield but further laxity in defence on 84 minutes saw Simon Yeo put in the clear to round Taylor and slot home Hyde's third.  Mike Mason pulled one back with a minute to go, nodding in from under the bar after a scramble in front of goal, but it was too little, too late.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Leahy (Barlow 58), Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, Molloy, Lawless (Alty 78), Knowles, Furlong, Dugdale (Mason 72), Bowen
Subs:  Barlow, Alty, Mason

UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 23rd February 2002
Burscough... 0  Bradford (Park Avenue)... 2
Yet another game ruined by a strong gale-force wind and one which will not live long in the memory.  The game started in almost identical fashion to that against Bishop Auckland a fortnight earlier with a free-kick on the edge of the area from Chris Stanton after 3 minutes, but with no end result this time.  Stanton's fiercely struck shot was heading just under the cross-bar but Montgomery in the Bradford goal pulled off a brilliant one-handed save to push it over the bar.  Dave Dugdale then glanced a header just wide but that unfortunately was about as good as it got for the Linnets.
Bradford were struggling to make headway against the wind while Burscough could take no advantage from playing with it and were strangely reluctant to chance their arm from long-range which surely could have paid dividends.
The departure of Lee Furlong with injury at half-time did nothing to help the cause and left Burscough short of pace, very light-weight up front, and looking most unlikely to conjure up a goal.  Any hopes of a point from a 0-0 draw were dashed on 68 minutes when Maxwell put the visitors in front with a free-header from a right-wing corner and six minutes later Hayward settled it with a superb strike from 20 yards into the top corner leaving Taylor helpless.  Bradford deserved their win in the atrocious conditions simply because they put away two strikes in the second half while the Linnets failed miserably to hit the target for 87 minutes, leaving Montgomery totally unemployed apart from picking out the occasional cross.
There have now been 17 games between Bradford and Burscough and none of these have ever resulted in a home win.  That particular record never looked in danger of coming to an end in this one.
Fashion note: Not often you see both teams playing in green and white.  Bradford played in their normal strip of white jerseys with a green band and green shorts, with the Linnets in their usual green jerseys and white shorts. Apparently the ref had O.K'd it and in the event it didn't seem to be a problem!
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, Leahy, Lawless, Knowles, Dugdale (Alty 83), Furlong (Hanson 45), Bowen
Subs:  P.Taylor, Alty, Hanson

Lancashire Marsden Trophy, Semi-Final
Tuesday, 19th February 2002
Burscough... 0  Accrington Stanley... 1
Hopes of an appearance in the final of this competition for the first time in 35 years were dashed by Stanley's injury- time winner on an absolutely atrocious evening when a very strong wind and driving rain made a lottery of the whole affair.  It was a great shame that a semi-final of importance to both teams had to be decided under such conditions.
Burscough had the elements seemingly in their favour in the first half but the wind proved more of a hindrance than a help and it was Accrington who had the better of the game and more chances.
After early Accrington pressure in the second half, the Linnets came more into the game and were playing much better against the wind than with it.  On the hour a neat bit of football played Dave Dugdale in the clear but a glorious opportunity was spurned as he somehow contrived to shoot over the bar from about 8 yards with only the keeper to beat.
John Lawless, replacing Steve Alty on 70 minutes, immediately began to create problems for the Stanley defence and had a shot saved at the foot of the post by Speare who also struggled to cut out a low cross from Mike Mason.
It had been obvious for some time that one goal was probably going to settle it and unfortunately it went the way of Accrington.  With extra-time looming and two of four injury-time minutes played, the Linnets' defence failed to close down Gary Williams and from 25 yards he curled a shot past Taylor into the top corner.  For the umpteenth time this season, disappointment at the death was the order of the day - it would be nice to win a game in the last minute just for once!
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, Leahy, Alty (Lawless 70), Knowles, Dugdale, Mason, Bowen
Subs:  P.Taylor, Hanson, Lawless, Birch, Bagnall (G/k)

UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 16th February 2002
Whitby Town... 1  Burscough... 3
The Linnets got off to a sensational start and were on target just 23 seconds after the kick-off.  Receiving a ball played forward by Chris Stanton down near the left corner, Marvin Molyneux controlled, turned past his marker, went to the bye-line and despite still being under pressure put over a tremendous cross to the far post where Lee Furlong (returning after a one match suspension) rose and thumped a powerful header just under the bar.  Furlong then had a shot saved by keeper Naisbett and also shot just wide from Dave Dugdale's through ball.  Burscough were now well on top with Furlong and Dugdale always looking dangerous and causing havoc in the Whitby defence.  With 21 minutes gone, Furlong just beat Naisbett to a through ball from Chris Stanton at the edge of the area but was forced out wide in the process and still had a lot to do. The covering defender on the line, however, could do nothing about the accurate shot which glanced in off the inside of the near post.  Chris Stanton then hit a cross from the left just the wrong side of the bar with the keeper beaten and it was no surprise when the Linnets went three up after 36 minutes.  Naisbett misjudged and dropped a cross from the right and Dave Dugdale with his back to goal hooked it in from about 10 yards.
Whitby came more into the game in the second half but Matty Taylor in goal was rarely troubled. Steve Alty headed wide from a Furlong cross and Furlong was denied his hat-trick by Naisbett when seemingly through on goal.  Whitby pulled one back on 75 minutes with a penalty from Logan, awarded supposedly for a push by Billy Knowles, but couldn't capitalise further and Burscough held out comfortably for a well-deserved three points.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, Leahy, Alty (P.Taylor 87), Knowles, Dugdale (Hanson 90), Furlong, Bowen
Subs:  P.Taylor, Barlow, Hanson

UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 9th February 2002
Burscough... 1  Bishop Auckland... 0
Burscough, without the suspended pair of John Lawless and Lee Furlong, kicked off towards the Mart Lane end with the strong, almost gale-force, wind in their favour. In the first two minutes a good cross from Michael Mason found no-one able to get the necessary touch and Marvin Molyneux shot powerfully but just wide.  With 3 minutes gone, the Auckland defence conceded a free-kick just outside the area and Chris Stanton made amends for his late mistake of the previous week with a powerful low shot through the wall which found the bottom corner to give the Linnets an early boost.  From a good low cross by Mason, Dave Dugdale almost increased the lead on the half-hour but Bishop's keeper Campbell somehow blocked low down without knowing too much about it.
In the second half Auckland had probably the better possession but failed to make their wind advantage count and neither keeper was unduly troubled.  Both teams struggled in the adverse conditions and the winner in the end was undoubtedly the wind.  The Linnets held out fairly comfortably for the unaccustomed luxury of a clean sheet (their first in the League since 13th October) and a well-earned and valuable three points.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, Molloy, Alty (P.Taylor 78), Knowles, Dugdale, Mason (Leahy 87), Bowen
Subs: Leahy, P.Taylor, Bennett

UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 2nd February 2002
Burscough... 2  Gateshead... 2
For the second week running the Linnets shot themselves in the foot (or to be precise, both feet) and during the closing moments put their supporters through the entire range of emotions from elation to total frustration.
The game started brightly enough although without too many chances, Gateshead coming closest with a powerful shot just over the bar and another forcing a fine save from Taylor.  A dipping free-kick from Tommy Molloy almost found the net but Gateshead keeper Swan just managed to save at the foot of the post after seeing it late. A Furlong cross on 21 minutes saw Dugdale unable to make sufficient contact at the near post as Swan managed to scramble the ball away and ten minutes later Dugdale was again unlucky in a repeat performance. On 39 minutes the Linnets took the lead as Marvin Molyneux celebrated his 20th birthday by latching on to a through ball down the left with the Gateshead defence all at sea and comfortably beating the advancing Swan.  At the same moment Lee Furlong was forced to leave the field, to be replaced by Michael Mason, after an earlier nasty collision with his own player had left him dazed and obviously rather more hurt than at first realised. Right on half time Burscough were indebted to an excellent save by Matty Taylor as he pushed a close range shot round the upright to preserve the lead.
After 12 minutes of the second half, however, it all went pear-shaped again.  Despite some uncompromising defending from Gateshead at times it had never been a dirty game and there seemed no reason for the fracas which suddenly broke out in midfield.  Tommy Molloy was provoked into exacting his own retribution with a petulant push in the chest at an opponent under the nose of the referee who had no option at all but to display the red card.  Sheer stupidity - although it was annoying that the Gateshead player who seemed to be responsible for this bit of nonsense escaped scot-free.  Burscough's ten men now came under pressure and it was no surprise when Bowey equalised for Gateshead on 67 minutes with a close range shot into the roof of the net after the ball had come back off the bar.  Matty Taylor now kept his team in the game with a series of fine saves and a 1-1 result was looking likely but this game had some final twists up its sleeve.
With three minutes left Dave Dugdale was put through on goal and looked certain to score but delayed too long and allowed Swan to smother the ball - a great chance squandered. Then with a minute left a free-kick from the right found its way across to Ged Nolan on the far side of the area and his speculative shot curled perfectly just inside the far post to apparently give the Linnets the winner, but with two minutes of injury time played Chris Stanton failed to cut out a long ball into the middle to let Gateshead's Preen in for the equaliser.
All in all, a draw was probably a fair result after Burscough had let themselves down badly with the sending-off, but after doing the hard work to get back in front it was terribly frustrating to see two points snatched away at the death.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans (P.Taylor 72), Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, Molloy, Alty (Leahy 77), Knowles, Dugdale, Furlong (Mason 39), Bowen
Subs:  P.Taylor, Leahy, Mason

Lancashire Marsden Trophy, 3rd Round
Tuesday, 29th January 2002
Burscough... 4 Darwen... 1
Burscough went through to the semi-final of the Lancashire Trophy with a fairly comfortable victory against Darwen from North-West Counties Div 2 who had beaten a full-strength Morecambe side 4-2 in the previous round.
The Linnets made most of the early running.  Molloy surged through on the left but his shot swung just wide of the far post and then Lawless shot straight at the keeper from 20 yards.  The break-through finally arrived on 28 minutes when a free-kick was swung in from the right and nodded on for Ged Nolan to run on to and score his first goal of the season fairly easily.  Darwen's best chances of the half came from free-kicks with a couple of efforts just over the bar and they were rewarded for a spell of pressure in injury time when Matt Swailes' snapshot from 25 yards found the bottom corner.
Any thoughts Darwen may have had of repeating their Morecambe exploits were soon dashed at the start of the second half.  On 47 minutes Lee Furlong swung over a fine cross from the right touchline and Dave Dugdale's header totally deceived keeper Baldwin as it lobbed gently into the top corner.  Four minutes later the Darwen defence was unable to clear a Lawless cross after a neat move down the right and Tommy Molloy was on hand to hit home from close range.  Darwen, to their credit, kept on battling but most of the chances came at the other end. Lee Furlong was a whisker away from connecting with a Dugdale cross in front of goal but finally got on to the score sheet to wrap it up after 82 minutes with a simple tap-in after Baldwin had failed to collect a Molloy free-kick from the left.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans, Stanton (Bennett 85), Molyneux, Nolan, Molloy, Lawless (Alty 78), Knowles (P.Taylor 88), Dugdale, Furlong, Bowen
Subs:  P.Taylor, Alty, Bennett, Leahy, Bagnall (G/K)

UniBond League President's Cup, Quarter Final
Saturday 26th January 2002
Burscough... 1    Ashton United... 3
The Linnets interest in this trophy came to an unexpected end with a defeat against First Division Ashton United that was totally self-inflicted.
After three minutes, a header from a cross by Marvin Molyneux saw the Ashton right-back clear off the line by the post with more than a suspicion of handball and from the resulting corner the same defender blocked on the line again.  The Linnets then forced a succession of corners but couldn't make the breakthrough.  A quick Ashton throw caught Burscough napping but Taylor came out quickly enough to ensure the shot went just wide.  A very strong wind blowing from corner to corner was in Ashton's favour but was making life difficult for both sides.
The last fifteen minutes of the half, however, were a total disaster for the Linnets.  On 31 minutes an Ashton forward, seemingly well boxed-in near the corner flag, was somehow allowed to wriggle free down the line and his cross was eventually converted by Cornelly to give Ashton the lead.  Eight minutes later, a reckless challenge by Bowen on the left of the area conceded an unnecessary penalty.Cornelly's spot-kick, low down the middle, was blocked by Matty Taylor but after two further attempts from the rebound Cornelly finally found the corner of the net much to Burscough's disbelief.  Another Burscough shot was blocked on the line, an Ashton defender sliced narrowly wide of his own goal, and then Lee Furlong and two Ashton defenders were booked after an incident that had been threatening to blow up for a while. With 45 minutes up, Dave Dugdale was clearly fouled on the edge of the area and, unlike the match against Accrington, the referee played a good advantage as John Lawless picked up the loose ball. From his cross a general melee developed at the foot of the post with the keeper and several players disputing possession.  Lee Furlong was ajudged to have been somewhat over-enthusiastic in his attempts to play the ball and received a second yellow card followed by the red and to make matters worse John Lawless followed him for subsequent remarks made to the referee.
The match was seemingly all over but to their credit Burscough's nine men battled hard in the second half.  Ashton's tall and physically strong defenders, including Joe Royle's son Darren, for the most part held firm and the Linnets' best efforts were a shot screwed wide by Dugdale and a 25-yarder from Gareth Evans held by the keeper.  With quarter of an hour to go, Michael Mason (newly signed this week after playing in the youth team a couple of years ago) came on and within three minutes rifled a beautiful 20-yard drive into the top corner to give Burscough some hope.  Despite further pressure they couldn't find an equaliser and with three minutes of injury time gone, Dormer scored a third for Ashton with a shot from the edge of the area that Matty Taylor should have saved.  That just about summed up Burscough's day - talk about shooting yourself in the foot!
Burscough: M.Taylor, Evans (Alty 90), Stanton (P.Taylor 70), Molyneux, Nolan, Molloy, Lawless, Knowles, Dugdale (Mason 75), Furlong, Bowen
Subs: Alty, P.Taylor, Mason

UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 19th January 2002
Gainsborough Trinity... 3    Burscough... 1
After last week's memorable match, this was definitely a case of "after the Lord Mayor's show" as the Linnets suffered ninety minutes they will rapidly want to forget. It all started promisingly enough - on 12 minutes Ray Birch fired in a 20 yard effort which keeper Ingham saved superbly at the expense of a corner and a few minutes later a fine cross-field ball from Marvin Molyneux found Billy Knowles well-placed just inside the area but again the keeper saved.  Gainsborough were looking threatening in attack and on 27 minutes took the lead when Lee Ellington turned smartly just inside the area and was tripped by Molyneux.  Ellington himself scored easily from the spot.
Lee Furlong now seemed to be struggling with an injury and was forced to depart on 37 minutes to be replaced by Dave Dugdale.  At the same time one of the referee's assistants ("linesman", if you prefer the old-fashioned term) also departed with an injury and play was delayed by several minutes while a substitute was found and kitted out.
The match was effectively decided in the first period of the second half as Trinity turned the screw with a display of fine attacking football.  On 51 minutes, Gowshall increased their lead with a firm glancing header to the far side of the net from a right-wing corner with the Burscough marking non-existent and on the hour Lee Ellington, a thorn in Burscough's side all afternoon, made it three after the defence had failed to clear the ball.
As Gainsborough continued to threaten, the Linnets were struggling to maintain respectability and were not helped by Neil Hanson's departure with injury.  However, the storm was weathered without further mishap and with twelve minutes to go a neat move ended with John Lawless being played in down the middle to beat Ingham for a consolation.
Ray Birch then departed the scene in some discomfort and for the last few minutes Burscough were down to ten men having by now run out of substitutes.
The bad news after the match was that Ray Birch had cracked 4 ribs and looks likely to be out for some time.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Hanson (Evans 75), Stanton, Molyneux, Molloy, P.Taylor (Alty 65), Lawless, Knowles, Birch, Furlong (Dugdale 37), Bowen   Subs: Alty, Evans, Dugdale

UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 12th January 2002
Burscough... 3    Accrington Stanley... 2
In front of the season's best crowd of 327 at Victoria Park, Burscough fielded a weakened side without Ged Nolan (suspended) and Andy McMullen (injured) against an Accrington team unbeaten in seven matches and holders of the Premier Division Team of the Month award for both November and December.
The Linnets almost took the lead in the first minute as Lee Furlong burst through but his shot, under challenge from two defenders, was weak and saved by keeper Speare down to his left.  On 18 minutes Furlong and Accrington's Jonathan Smith were both booked on the intervention of a linesman.  Two minutes later Smith brought down Furlong and received a second yellow card followed by the inevitable red.  Play became increasingly niggly after this but neither keeper was called into serious action and Burscough were not really able to make their one-man advantage count.  Furlong was wide with a clever back-heel flick, Knowles just failed to make contact with a cross from the right and Molloy's shot after a good run was held by Speare to his left.  Goal-less at half time with no indication of the drama to come.
Burscough brought on 18-yr old Dave Dugdale at the start of the second half in place of Steve Leahy and after five minutes the referee failed to play advantage and whistled up for a Linnets' free-kick as Furlong ran through to lob the ball over the keeper.  With an hour gone Stanley suddenly found acres of space down the left and from the cross Carden was left with time to control at the far post and put his team in front and the Linnets up against it.
Burscough were finding more space now against the ten men but were doing themselves no favours with some appalling deliveries of the final ball into the box.  However, on 68 minutes they at last got it right and Molyneux's cross found Tommy Malloy out on the left and his shot was hit low to the far corner for his first ever goal for the first team.
The game was then decided in the space of an amazing three minutes.  With quarter of an hour left, Dave Dugdale latched on to the ball wide on the edge of the area and under pressure from a defender curled a superb 20 yard chip shot over the keeper.  A minute later Accrington had levelled with the Burscough defence conspicuously absent again as James ran through down the left and his shot beat Matty Taylor at his near post. Their celebrations were equally short-lived as again within a minute the Linnets retook the lead.  John Lawless made space on the right and crossed beyond the far post where Tommy Malloy knocked it back in for Dugdale to gleefully smash in his second.
The drama was not yet over as Stanley almost got another instant equaliser but Chris Stanton at the foot of the post hacked a goal-bound shot off the line.  The closing stages were marked by some rather physical tactics by the Accrington defence and the Linnets ran out the winners of a well-deserved and hard-earned three points.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Hanson, Stanton, Molyneux, Molloy, Leahy (Dugdale 45), Lawless (P.Taylor 80), Knowles, Birch, Furlong, Bowen   Subs: Alty, P.Taylor, Dugdale

Lancashire Marsden Trophy, 2nd Round
Tuesday, 8th January 2002
Burscough 3 Squires Gate 1
The Linnets progressed to the quarter finals of this competition with a fairly comfortable victory over Squires Gate from North-West Counties Div 2 although, having beaten Marine in the previous round, the opposition were not to be taken lightly.
Lee Furlong shot just over the bar as Burscough applied early pressure but survived a scare when Squires Gate failed to take advantage of a bad back-pass by the home defence.  On 10 minutes a cross from Lawless on the right was flicked on to Furlong who netted easily from close range despite looking in a suspiciously offside position.
The Blackpool visitors were not going to lie down;  Bagnall was forced to save at the foot of the post and a cross from the right was headed on to the top of his crossbar when it seemed easier to score.  Lee Furlong was looking lively up front and it was from his cross on 18 min that the ball broke to Ray Birch who picked his spot to score comfortably from about 10 yards.  It was Birch again who warmed the keeper's hands with a powerful shot from the right and Ged Nolan saw a 25-yarder whistle just wide of the post.
Squires Gate pulled a goal back however on 39 minutes after Bagnall could only parry a close range shot.
After 51 minutes the game was more or less decided when an intended cross from Ryan Bowen way out on the left flank somehow found its way into the far top corner of the net with the keeper a helpless spectator.  Bowen then shot just wide of the far post from a good opening on the left but there were not many more incidents of note as the Linnets seemed content with what they had.  Full marks though to Squires Gate who never gave up and moved the ball around quite well.
Burscough: Bagnall, Hanson, Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, McMullen (Dugdale 54), Lawless (Alty 68), Knowles, Birch (Leahy 83), Furlong, Bowen
Subs: Leahy, Dugdale, Alty, P.Taylor, M.Taylor


UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 29th December 2001
Burscough... 0    Hyde United... 2
Visitors Hyde United are currently in bottom spot in the Premier Division but this result just emphasised once again that there are no easy games in this division.
Burscough's closest effort of the first half came  after an excellent three-man move which ended with Dugdale's shot striking the top of the bar and bouncing over.  Just on half time, Dugdale missed a glorious chance to give the Linnets the lead after a corner but screwed his shot wide from just six yards out.
The finishing at both ends had been somewhat wayward but on 52 minutes, Hyde's Kevin Leadbetter (ex-Skelmersdale United, now on loan to Hyde from Southport) showed how it should be done with a 20 yard snapshot which found the far corner with Matty Taylor apparently unsighted.
Dave Dugdale's shot after breaking through on the right produced a splendid save from veteran keeper David Felgate but Burscough were not helping their cause with some wayward passing out of defence - Marvin Molyneux in particular being an offender.  Some late pressure from the Linnets gave the home supporters brief hope but one always had the impression that the ball was not going to find the back of the net on this particular day and it was probably no surprise when, with 90 min up on the clock, Hyde broke down the left and Yeo was left with a simple finish after a shot was blocked.
Lee McEvilly's power up front was missed but ironically it was his replacement, 18yr old Dave Dugdale, who was Burscough's best forward on the day.
Burscough: M.Taylor, P.Taylor, Molloy (Birch 58), Molyneux, Nolan, McMullen, Lawless (Alty 85), Knowles, Dugdale, Furlong, Bowen
Subs: Hanson, Birch, Alty
UniBond League Premier Division

Wednesday 26th December 2001
Colwyn Bay... 2    Burscough... 1

After battling through near blizzard conditions on the North Wales coast, Burscough were somewhat unfortunate to return pointless after a hard working display that saw them enjoy the greater share of possession for much of the game.
The Linnets had the best of the first half chances with Billy Knowles heading just wide on 11 minutes following a Birch free kick.  This was followed by a good effort from Lee Furlong before Bay's Marc Limbert had a shot blocked at the other end.  Dave Dugdale twice went close before the Welsh side took the lead in first half injury time through a looping header from Dean Williams.
Following a sustained spell of pressure after the restart, Knowles scored a deserved equaliser on 57 minutes with a typical snapshot from 15 yards out.  Ten minutes later the Linnets fell behind again as Jason Jones got behind their defence to give Taylor no chance.  The visitors continued to push forward but nearly fell two behind with six minutes left only for Taylor to pull off an incredible reflex save from a McIlvogue header.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Birch (Leahey 75), Alty, Molyneux, Nolan, McMullen, Lawless (Hanson 72), Knowles, Dugdale, Furlong, Bowen
Subs: Hanson, Leahy, P.Taylor



UniBond League Cup (Group Stage)
Tuesday 18th December 2001
Burscough... 3 Radcliffe Borough... 0

The game got off to a lively start with Linnets keeper Matty Taylor tipping a shot onto the top of the bar, Radcliffe forcing four successive corners and seeing a header also bounce on the bar - and that was just in the first three minutes!  After that edgy opening, Burscough soon settled and on 12 min. Steve Alty played in Lee Furlong who took the ball round the keeper to the bye-line and from there walked it into an empty net.  The McEvilly/Furlong duo were looking dangerous in every attack but it was obviously not going to be Lee Mac's night as, after a typical surge forward, he stubbed his shot straight to the keeper and then miskicked another chance from six yards. Radcliffe, however, were by no means out of it and came more into the game as the half progressed, playing some good passing football.
Midway through the second half, Lee Furlong put the result more or less beyond doubt with a confident finish as he was put clear after the Borough defence had messed up a quick free kick and the Linnets seemed quite happy to hold on to what they had.  Radcliffe struck the foot of the post and forced Taylor to another fine tip-over, but with two minutes left it was that man Furlong who waltzed clear again and completed his hat-trick with a well-placed shot to the far corner.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Hanson, Alty, Molyneux, P.Taylor, McMullen, Lawless (Dugdale 88), Knowles, McEvilly, Furlong, Bowen.
Subs: Nolan, Leahy, Dugdale



UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 15th December 2001
Bamber Bridge... 2 Burscough... 3

In an entertaining game at Irongate, Burscough deservedly took all three points against a Bamber Bridge side much changed of late with a new manager and a host of new players in their line up.  'Brig' started the game playing some purposeful football and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 17 min. Neil Hanson failed to get in a tackle, Andy Moran was played in and beat Matty Taylor with an angled shot to the far corner.  The Linnets forced their way back into it and began to look dangerous with McEvilly and Furlong (back after a long absence through injury) causing problems.  On the half-hour a lofted ball over the defence found Furlong on the right touchline and his first time cross was headed home powerfully by McEvilly who had to receive treatment after colliding with the keeper.  Eight minutes later the Brig defence was all at sea as Furlong was put through and made no mistake with a rising drive across keeper Sharrock into the top corner.
Two minutes after the interval the lead was increased as McEvilly got to the bye-line after a strong run down the left and crossed for Furlong to smash it into an empty net from 6 yards. A runaway win looked to be a possibility but within three minutes Brig had pulled one back as Moran found the roof of the net after his first attempt came back off the post.
As usual, the Linnets then made life difficult for themselves by often failing to clear their lines properly in the face of some determined home pressure and were indebted to Matty Taylor for a superb double save. They should have increased their lead however when Ryan Bowen somehow contrived to head over the bar from a perfect chipped cross from Billy Knowles when it seemed far easier to score.
In the final stages Brig ran out of steam and their frustration showed with two minutes left when keeper Sharrock was shown the red card apparently for dissent after trying to take a quick free-kick from 10 yards too far forward.
Burscough: M.Taylor, Hanson, Stanton, Molyneux, Nolan, McMullen, Birch (Leahy, 80), Knowles, McEvilly (Dugdale, 85), Furlong, Bowen.
Subs: Leahy, Alty, Dugdale



UniBond League Cup (Group Stage)
Tuesday 11th December 2001
Marine... 2 Burscough... 1

With a Lee McEvilly headed goal disallowed, this was not to be Burscough's night and Marine took the lead with just nine minutes left.  Andy McMullen seemed to have earned a point with an 89th minute equaliser but Marine then grabbed all three with the last kick of the game.
Burscough: M.Taylor, P.Taylor, Molloy, Leahy, Nolan, McMullen, Birch, Knowles, McEvilly Dugdale, Bowen.
Subs: Stanton, Alty, Furlong



UniBond League Premier Division
Saturday 8th December 2001
Burscough... 3 Whitby Town... 1

The Linnets never really threatened in a first half in which Whitby were probably the better side. Dave Dugdale broke through early on to bring a good save from Naisbett in the Whitby goal but the rebound was scrambled clear.  At the other end Matty Taylor produced an incredible reaction save from a close-range header to deny Whitby's Ure.  The second half opened in much the same vein until a run into the box by Ure ended with a trip just inside the area by Paul Taylor and  Logan scored from the spot to give Whitby the lead.  At this stage it was difficult to see where Burscough were going to find even one point from but the game suddenly changed dramatically on 67min. as Lee McEvilly controlled a cross from the right and his shot somehow took a strange deflection and found its target at the foot of the far post.  Suitably encouraged, the Linnets began to attack and on 77 min. a neat interchange between McEvilly and Dugdale ended with a typical McEvilly surge across the area to finish with a crisp left foot shot past Naisbett.  With three minutes left, McEvilly was put through in the clear, rounded the keeper with some style and side-footed home for his third hat-trick in about six weeks.
Burscough: M.Taylor, P.Taylor, Birch, Leahy, Nolan, McMullen, Lawless, Knowles, McEvilly, Dugdale, Bowen.
Subs: Hanson, Stanton, Alty