Bootle were dumped out of the FA Cup in the Preliminary Round after Congleton Town ran out 4-1 winners in their replay thanks to a Tom Pope brace plus goals from George Sankey and Jonathan Beaumont.
It was an uninspiring display from the Bucks as they struggled to get a foothold in the tie. A piece of individual quality from Cian Spencer-McDermott halved the deficit after Pope and Sankey doubled the Bears’ second-half lead but the North West Counties side prevailed as they powered into the FA Cup First Qualifying Round.
The first-half brought a handful of chances but it was largely from the visitors. Richard Duffy almost scored a spectacular volley inside the early exchanges but his hooked effort went just wide from a corner towards the back post.
Ethan Hartshorn then wasted a chance from eight yards after Sam Ashton parried an in-swinging corner.
Bootle’s only sight on goal came from Ben Hodkinson’s speculative effort which stung the palms of David Parton.
After the break, the half-time team talk seemed to spark Brian Richardson’s team into life. Striker, Tom Peterson, had the two best openings as he cut through on his right foot firing low only for Parton to save deflecting the effort with his legs.
The two encountered minutes later, this time Peterson forced Parton to push round the post after Jack McGowan’s cutback following good interplay with Hodkinson.
But it was the visitors who went in front, Sankey fired across goal and the former Port Vale striker, Pope, was there to stab home.
Going a goal behind appeared to stun the Bucks and they almost fell two behind. They were caught napping after a short corner, Needham’s cross-cum-shot almost caught out Ashton who palmed away the danger but in the same passage, Congleton saw a volley fly the wrong side of the post from close-range.
But it soon became two as Sankey latched onto a quick one-two and fired into the bottom left corner.
The hosts did half the deficit with under 20 minutes to go. Spencer-McDermott cut in from the byline on the right, before shifting it back onto his stronger right-foot and firing emphatically into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
Despite the Bucks chasing the equaliser, Congleton were awarded a penalty as a cross towards the backpost was headed across goal and handled by Simon Wills.
Pope stepped up but saw it rocket off of the crossbar but in a crazy turn of events the ball looped up before the substitute Beaumount was on-hand to fire in to restore their two-goal cushion.
Pope doubled his tally for the evening with the last kick of the game firing into the top corner at Ashton’s near post following a break after Bootle were careless in possession.
Bootle 1-4 Congleton Town
Goals: 76′ Cian Spencer-McDermott; 54′, 90′ Tom Pope, 71′ George Sankey, 83′ Jonathan Beaumont
HT/FT Score: 0-0/1-4.