Cheadle Town 0-1 Bacup Borough

We did everything but score. And when we did score with virtually the last kick of the match it was (wrongly, in our opinion) ruled out for offside. It felt like "one of those days".

That said it's a tad churlish to bemoan any bad luck on our part.

Firstly, we didn't help ourselves at times with some poor decision-making in key areas and secondly we were up against an inspired performance from the Bacup keeper [Aaron Ashley] who has attracted suitors over the past week (some of which were at Park Road to watch him); it's not difficult to see why.

He pulled off four excellent stops of note, three in the lead-up to half-time. He somehow managed to claw away a Liam Tongue downward header when Liam was in acres of space, denied Justin Pickering when he tried to catch him out at his near post and then made an excellent block from close range to ensure that Rhys Webb's goalscoring streak didn't continue.

...and Rhys will be still wondering how he managed to get his hand to a shot on the 64th minute; Mr Ashley producing a wonderful reflex save to tip the ball over the bar.

Add to those all of the other half-chances we had.

'Dave' Banda looked to have a clear shot on goal as early as the 9th minute but screwed his shot horribly wide with Justin Pickering then volleying inches wide a minute later.

George Blackwell had tested the keeper twice with efforts from the left before Rhys Webb was put clean through on the 15th minute, only for an unkind bobble of the ball to render his effort high and not-so handsome.

Bacup made a brighter start to their 2nd half - they had started to snap at our heels a bit quicker - and took the only goal of the game on the 51st minute...but somewhat down to the slack decision-making I referred to earlier.

Bacup's midfield seized on a wayward pass in the middle of the park and within one through-ball their no7 Anthony Hall was in on goal to stab the ball past the onrushing Adam Rigby and guide it into an unguarded net.

Bacup had their tails up and only five minutes later Adam Rigby had to pull off a great double save to keep us in the match as we failed to clear our lines.

Rick Whyatt came off the bench with 20 minutes remaining to give us a bit of extra attacking impetus.

In this final 20 Luke Hincks went agonisingly close with a cross-shot, Rhys Webb latched onto a delicious pass from Liam Tongue only for him to poke his effort wide and a Justin Pickering long-ranger was clawed away by the keeper after it had bounced awkwardly right in front of him.

With injury time coming to a close we finally had the Bacup keeper beaten, the net bulging after Rhys Webb had crashed home (what looked like a square cross) from close range, but the flap of the linesman's flag in the corner of everybody's eye confirmed that, given all the efforts and agonies of the Cheadle squad, the defeat was ever thus.

Of the 9 remaining matches, just the two remain at Park Road now. Our next appointment is Prestwich Heys away this coming Saturday.

TEAM: Rigby, Dunn, Banda, Todd (C Sherrington), Tongue, Pearson, Hincks, Magida (Whyatt), Webb, Pickering, Blackwell (M Sherrington). SUBS: Piggott (gk), Whyatt, C Sherrington, M Sherrington, Lever.