Supersub Bowler pops up to claim late winner

Kris Bowler, Matlock Town.
Kris Bowler, Matlock Town.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Evo-Stik League Premier Division

Burscough 1

Kevin Leadbetter 50

Matlock Town 2

Ian Holmes 77

Kris Bowler 84

Matlock Town: Jon Kennedy, Michael Harcourt, Ben Algar, Liam King, James Lukic, Adam Yates, Chris Bettney, TJ Nightingale, Ian Holmes, Steve Warne, Lee Whittington. Subs: Kris Bowler, James Knowles, Kris Witcombe, Nick Buxton.

Attendance: 123

Star Man: James Lukic

MATLOCK Town left it late on Saturday against rock bottom Burscough but goals in the final 15 minutes from Ian Holmes and Kris Bowler were enough to bring back three hard-earned points from their away trip and extend the unbeaten run of Mark Atkins’s men to six games.

Following on from a tricky 2010-2011 campaign, Burscough, playing their home games at Skelmersdale United’s ground, have endured a torrid start to the campaign.

They have also parted company with manager Chris Stammers after he quit the post in the run-up to the game.

This has resulted in a return to the club for former manager Derek Goulding.

Amid all this turmoil, Matlock Town would have gone into the match with the warning words of Atkins ringing in their ears about not taking any game for granted.

They were boosted by the appearances in the starting line-up of both Tyeisse ‘TJ’ Nightingale and Lee Whittington, who had both recovered successfully from injuries picked up earlier in the week.

The wet and blustery weather resulted in the pitch being more than a little greasy and this resulted in a lack of flowing football as the ball proved difficult to control.

Harcourt had his name taken as early as the sixth minute for Matlock when his tackle resulted in Paul Williams having to leave the field through injury.

Ten minutes later and Matlock had their first major chance to get their noses in front when Chris Thompson had to be alert to foil first Nightingale’s effort on goal and then Holmes’s follow-up

At the other end, skipper James Lukic was proving a standout performer at the heart of the defence while Jon Kennedy was in good form in goal and did well to deny Burscough’s efforts, particularly a shot from Darren Brookfield.

Into the second half and Burscough were proving tricky to break down for a Matlock side who have not lost since the opening game of the season.

It was something of a shock then when the home side opened the scoring on 50 minutes through Kevin Leadbetter.

But Matlock redoubled their efforts and Burscough were under the cosh for much of the remainder of the game, eventually bowing to the inevitable on 77 minutes when leading scorer Ian Holmes headed home after Burscough had failed to clear their lines from a corner.

And, with Burscough hoping that they would still be able to take something from the game, up popped substitute Kris Bowler with just six minutes remaining to grab his first goal of the season from close range.

In the end, Matlock’s efforts were enough to push them into the top five by the end of the match, although midweek results mean they then slipped down to seventh.