Bootle 0 Padiham 2

Thursday 8th May 2008
Bootle 0 Padiham 2
Vodkat League Division Two
At: Bucks Park
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £3; Programme: none
Attendance: 25
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 46:13; second-half: 46:49

Barely 30 minutes before kick-off, this trip could well have been a tale of woe and frustrating conclusion. Having been thwarted in my attempts to reach the Cheshire Association League games at Styal and Poynton by heavy traffic, I was getting increasingly hot and bothered trying to locate the ground. Then, the directions I had (which turned out to be correct) suddenly made sense as I spotted the ground at the end of a partly-finished road through a construction site for new industrial units. There it was at the end of the road – Bucks Park!

The ground itself hasn’t been used for that many seasons for Bootle’s first team games. There is car parking and the entrance is near the wind turbine. Most of the facilities are along the near touchline. There are four rows of blue individual tip-up seats in the stand to the left of the entrance before the half-way line with clubhouse/changing rooms building further along. Behind the right-hand goal is metal structure containing three rows of covered terrace and the dugouts are located on the opposite touchline. Of course, there are three floodlight pylons on each side. Team line-ups were read out over the tannoy.

From the end of M57 and M58 follow signs for Liverpool (A59 South) for about 1.5 miles, passing amongst other things Asda on the left and the Old Roan pub on the right. With Aintree racecourse on left and Aintree Station on right, turn right at lights into Park Lane, ignoring the first set of lights where a right-hand turn leads to the station car park. Turn left at second set of lights into Bridle Road. After 200 yards, at the point where the houses on the right end, turn left into Vestey Estate and the ground is 200 yards on the bend by the wind turbine. For public transport users then Aintree Station is the nearest.

The current Bootle FC, founded in 1953, rejoined the North-West Counties League in 2006 following a four-season spell in the Liverpool County Combination. Previously they had a long-stint in the North-West Counties, playing at their old ground at Northern Perimeter Road, having been a founder member in 1982. I actually saw South Liverpool play at the old ground (on New Year’s Day 1991) during a groundshare arrangement. The original Bootle FC were founder members of the Football League Division Two but dropped out after one season – ironically replaced by Liverpool FC.

On a breezy but sunny evening, I opted to watch the game from the seated stand and spotted a one other football traveller who clearly supported a Football League team in the West Country. In view to the left was the futuristic roof of a recently-built stand at the racecourse and the occasional train, sliver with yellowish doors, went by on its way either to or from Aintree station along the line a few hundred yards away to the east.

Lower-midtable Padiham (red shirts, white shorts, black socks) got the game under way with Bootle, in sixth position, defending the southern end of Bucks Park. Barely three minutes had elapsed when Bootle’s Dan O’Connor shot against the underside of the visitors’ bar. The ball bounced down and the assistant referee was well positioned to see that it had not crossed the line, with no protests at all. The deadlock was broken in the 32nd minute. Paul Fildes got a ‘lucky’ bounce and raced clear down the inside left channel into the area before steering a shot wide of Bootle keeper Mark Mawdsley. Again the tannoy came into use as the opening goal was announced. The lights came on six minutes later.

Hot and cold drinks, and hot pasties were on the menu from the Tea Bar at half-time. I opted for a cup of tea and Mars Bar. Padiham doubled their lead four minutes after the restart and against the announcer told the fans that Paul Barrett was the man who put the ball in the net. It really wanted the tannoy man to announce a Bootle goal, especially as he described the substitutions as well, but alas the home side (wearing all blue kit) couldn’t find the net.

The following Monday, the announcer would have been kept busy as Bootle rounded off their season with a 7-0 home win over Chadderton.

Bootle (blue/blue/blue): 1. Mark Mawdsley, 2. Kane Davis, 3. Carl Dale, 4. Neil McQueen (capt), 5. Steve King, 6. Chris O'Brien, 7. Dan O'Connor, 8. Liam Loughlin, 9. Paul Hopkins, 10. Andy Fowler, 11. Anthony Hickey. Subs: 12. Kevin Black (for Hickey, 66), 14. Joe Doran (for Fowler, 78), 15. Danny O'Leary (not used).

Padiham (red/white/black): 1. Kirk Marsdon, 2. Steve Pickup (capt), 3. Neil Almond, 4. Andy Hargreaves, 5. Paul Walker, 6. Adam Lee, 7. Chris Ridehalgh, 8. Andy Haworth, 9. Paul Barrett, 10. Paul Fildes, 11. Martin Fletcher. Subs: 12. Luke Gornall (for Walker, 56), 14. Wayne Morrison (for Fletcher, 56), 15. Tom Pickersgill (for Barrett, 69).

Referee: Ian Muncaster.
Assistants: K. Rides and R. King.

0-1 Paul Fildes (32)
0-2 Paul Barrett (49)

Bootle: Andy Fowler (YC, 47)
Padiham: none