Afternoon to forget for Town after first loss in six outings

Neil Stansfield wins a header at Bootle
Neil Stansfield wins a header at Bootle

Town suffered their first defeat in six league games on Saturday, having again been hit by availability issues as they went down 4-0 away to Bootle.

Kieran Fletcher and Bill Williams were both absent, with Kevin Richardson was drafted in to try to plug the hole left in the middle of the defence.

Danny Morton was also away - and subsequently linked up with EvoStik First Division North side Clitheroe over the weekend.

Back into the starting line-up came Liam Blades after re-signing earlier in the week.

Keeper Lyle Davy was quickly brought into the action, diving to save a Grant Pruden shot in the first five minutes.

Two minutes later came Town’s only shot on target in the first half, Kieran Lee shooting from 25 yards out, with Bootle keeper Dean Porter tipping his effort over.

From then on it was all Bootle - Neil Prince shot just wide of Davy’s left hand post on the quarter hour mark, and three minutes later he had to dive to save a Chris Tyson shot.

The Town defence were coping reasonably well until the 21st minute, Richardson bringing down the ball well under pressure, only to send a weak pass towards Anthony Pollard, which was intercepted, with Helio Andre firing out across Davy to open the scoring.

Right at the start of the second half Town had a scare when a cross came in and a header from close in was cleared off the line by Blades.

The Town forwards were making little impact, and Lee was replaced by Aaron Hollindrake after 65 minutes, with Harry Thompson coming on for Joel Melia shortly after.

But Pollard gave a penalty away on 77 minutes, pulling back Prince just inside the area, Tom Peterson easily scoring to put the home team two up.

Towns best effort came two minutes later, Hollindrake twice having efforts cleared off the line by William Smart after beating Porter.

The Town defence then appeared to crumble, Michael Boyle seeing his shot curl wide, before beating Davy but seeing his effort rebound off the foot of the post.

Davy then had to make a diving save to keep out Tyson, and another good save to deny Samuel Corlett, but two minutes into injury time, a pinpoint cross was met by Daniel O’Connor who headed home.

Then to cap it all, a minute later Prince scored from close in as the Town defence went AWOL.

Tomorrow, Town are again in league action away to Wigan Robin Park.