Barnoldswick Town boss Danny Craig claimed that his players were like a group possessed when completing a remarkable turnaround to beat Bootle and reach the Macron Cup final.
Trailing 2-0 at half-time in the second leg at the Delta Taxi Stadium, having been thumped 6-1 there in the Hallmark Security Premier Division just days before, Town’s single goal advantage from their first meeting in the semi-final looked to be completely irrelevant.
John Beckwith had secured the ‘smash and grab’ triumph deep in to stoppage time at the Silentnight Stadium but the Merseysiders edged their noses in front after 45 minutes on their own turf with Kieran Haligan and Steven Jones netting.
At that point featuring in a finale at Fleetwood Town’s Highbury Stadium appeared to be nothing more than a pipe dream but Craig’s men somehow prevailed.
It was game on when Zack Dale’s volley from the edge of the penalty area found the corner and then the winger turned provider two minutes later, crossing for Mark Threlfall to convert to hand the visitors the lead on aggregate.
Town then put the tie to bed with 10 minutes remaining when Threlfall closed down goalkeeper Ryan Jones, won possession and rolled the ball in to an empty net.
“To recover from being in the place that the squad was in at half-time is testament to them,” said Craig.
“They were beaten heavily in the league and were then 2-0 down after 45 minutes in that second leg.
“Anybody watching would’ve thought ‘here we go again’. At that point any other team in the league would’ve got thumped.
“At 2-0 down we were out of the game and out of the cup. I don’t know where they found that from. They found a performance from nowhere.”