BACUP & Rossendale Borough’s great escape came up just short as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Ashton Athletic and were relegated from the North West Counties League Premier Division – ensuring neighbours Barnoldswick Town survived.

Bacup needed a two goal victory to beat the drop and send Barlick, who finished their season a week earlier, through the trapdoor.


That Brent Peters’ side had even taken the survival fight to the final day was an achievement given that they managed just one victory in their first 25 games of the season.

But, with a bumper crowd of 119 swelled by the free admission, second half Ashton goals from Isaac Kusaloka and Adam Gilchrist in the final minute ended their stay.

The game could have played out very differently if the visitors had made the most of a dominant first half.

The biggest chance came in the final minute when Adrian Bellamy saw a penalty saved after Daniel Cocks was brought down inside the box.

But, despite fashioning a host of chances, Bacup couldn’t find a breakthrough and were chasing the game once Kusaloka put the home side ahead against the run of play.

The visitors battled until the finish but in the end came up just short as Gilchrist sealed their fate in the closing stages.

The result will have been a relief for Barnoldswick and their manager Stewart Airdrie who had to wait to see if St Helens or Bacup could overhaul Barlick in their final fixtures in a nervous end to the season.