BACUP & Rossendale Borough aim to complete a remarkable North West Counties League Premier Division survival story tomorrow – and send East Lancashire rivals Barnoldswick Town down.

Bacup looked dead and buried this time last week but back-to-back victories, the latest coming in a 4-2 win over nine-man Bootle on Wednesday, has given them a shot at safety.


Should they win their final game of the season, away to fifth-placed Ashton Athletic tomorrow, by two clear goals they would haul themselves off the bottom and beat the drop.

And in doing so they would condemn Barnoldswick, who have completed their campaign, to relegation on goal difference, alongside already doomed St Helens Town, whose demotion was confirmed when they drew 1-1 at Silsden on Tuesday.

Barnoldswick boss Stewart Airdrie is planning to watch the Bacup match tomorrow knowing that the matter rests outside his team’s control.

Airdrie said: “Bootle missed a penalty in the first minute and then had two men sent off in the first half so nothing went for us and it’s been like that for us this season.

“But credit to Bacup, they’ve had two great results over the last week and they’ve given themselves a fighting chance.

“The only thing I disagree with is the fact that they’ve still got a game to play and now know exactly what they’ve got to do.

“I feel all the final games should be played on the same day.

“But, no excuses, we’ve obviously not done enough this season and now we need Ashton to do us a favour, just like Silsden did us in midweek.”

Bacup gave themselves a fighting chance after producing an outstanding performance to triumph 4-2 in midweek after St Helens missed the chance to relegate both Brent Peters’ side and Barnoldswick when they failed to beat Silsden on Tuesday night.

Bacup so nearly got off to the worst possible start on Wednesday.

Bootle were awarded a penalty inside the first 10 seconds. Tom Peterson, however, stuck his effort wide of the target.

Relieved by the let-off Bacup went in front in the 12th minute when Michael Gervin put a finishing touch to a flowing team move.

And matters improved before the end of a one-sided first half when Bootle duo Sean Coulton and Jamie Hay were sent off.

Gervin smashed home his second on the stroke of half-time and two became three after the restart, Yves Zama slotting home after another assist from Dominic Marie, who completed Bacup’s scoring.

Bootle responded thanks to a brace from Peterson.