by Robert Lee · 29/10/2017
NWCFL Premier Division, Tuesday 31 October 2017 (7.45pm)
West v Bootle
Brookburn Road, M21 8FE
Adults £5, concessions £3, free for under-12s accompanied by an adult
After two cup assignments, West return to league action on Halloween night. Bootle visit Brookburn Road as both teams look to close the gap on the Runcorn sides occupying the promotion places.
West will be in high spirits after the resounding 4-1 derby win at Maine Road last Monday, but the Bucks travel down the M62 on the back of Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 home defeat to 1874 Northwich which saw them slip to 5th in the Premier Division table.
Saul Henderson, Sam Parr and Jordan Poole all left West last week, but Chappy Massamba will hope to shake off a knock in time to make his West bow. The visitors may include a trio of their own new signings, with Charlie Kelly, Daniel O’Connor and Ste Milne all joining the Bucks over the weekend.
At a glance
|Form (all competitions)
|Tom Bailey (18)
|Top scorer (all competitions)
|Ryan Cox (12)
|West v Bootle (NWCFL era): P11, W5, D1, L5, F24, A29
Under the joint-managership of Joe Doran and Phil Stafford – ex-captain Stafford joining Doran in the New Bucks Park dugout at the end of last season – Bootle have established themselves as part of the chasing pack as Runcorn Town and Runcorn Linnets set the pace at the top of the table. The Bucks have played 15 league games so far this season – more than most of the sides around them, and four more than West – and have won seven, drawn four and lost four.
Don’t be surprised if this is another high-scoring affair at Brookburn Road. The Bucks have scored more league goals than anyone bar the Runcorn teams, and have already hit five three times this campaign – 5-0 at home to Barnton in August, 5-2 at home to Widnes in September, and 5-0 at Squires Gate in October. But they can leak goals at the other end – earlier this month, they threw away a 4-1 lead with fifteen minutes to go at AFC Darwen to draw 4-4.
A 3-0 extra preliminary round defeat to Hallam ended Bootle’s FA Cup dream before it had the chance to begin, but they have maintained an interest in the FA Vase – after dramatically seeing off Rossington Main 4-3 in the first round, the Bucks face a second round trip to Stockton Town of the Northern League.
Ryan Cox looks set to be the player to watch – the ex-AFC Liverpool and Runcorn Linnets hitman has 12 goals in all competitions, including six in the last five games and another four in the Bucks’ 5-0 goring of Barnton in August.
The sides have already met this season – in August, West returned from Merseyside with a point after a topsy-turvy 3-3 draw. Josh Tinker and Matty Kay scored for West, along with a Bucks own goal, as the visitors battled back from two goals down.