Bootle booked their place in the Liverpool Senior Cup semi-final thanks to goals from Nivaldo, Daniel Lenehan and Tom Peterson in their win over Tranmere Rovers.
The Bucks roll into the last four as they built upon the on-loan strikers’ towering header on the stroke of half-time.
Substitute Lenehan made an immediate impact with an audacious lob on his senior debut as Peterson got back on the scoresheet late on.
There wasn’t to be a clean sheet for Joe Mason as Paddy Kennedy headed home late on for the visitors.
Steve McNulty rang the changes from Saturday’s defeat to Newcastle Town as only three players kept their place from the 2-1 loss.
The League Two side fielded a youthful side as their focus remains firmly on their domestic campaign but provided an opportunity for their prospects to test themselves against the Northern Premier League West side.
Both sides failed to put each other’s backlines under siege. Rovers showed flashes of quality going forward, but the hosts dominated with little to no penetration.
Jack Flight came closest with an early effort but his goal-bound effort was blocked as it cannoned off his teammate.
Tranmere then traded a blow of their own through Max Fisher as his fizzing effort stung the palms of Mason forcing the hosts to scramble away.
McNulty was in the home dugout against the side who he won promotion from the National League with and his side took the lead came which came as a blow for the youthful Rovers side on the stroke of half-time after defending resolutely in a largely uneventful first 45.
They were caught napping after Connor Millington played it short to full-back Matthew Devine who delivered a teasing cross which was met by the Brazilian.
The second half sprung more opportunities. Peterson, who was a half-time substitute, raced in behind the visitors’ back line but overshot his scooped attempt over the bar. A cross then made it all the way to the back post for Flight but the scrambling Connor Robson did well to block.
Two minutes after coming on for his first-team debut Lenehan scored his first senior goal for the Bucks. He showed his marker a clean set of heels before lifting it over the onrushing Robson.
Flight, who was a constant threat down the wing, brilliantly controlled a diagonal pass with his chest before lifting over the challenge to be denied by the Tranmere shot-stopper.
Peterson couldn’t steer his diving header on target as Ben Roberts almost got in on the act but the visitors had their number one on the night to thank.
However their rearguard was broken late on as Bootle thwarted their attack after a decisive tackle from Connor Millington before spraying to Peterson left the Rovers defence outnumbered. He was unmarked and took one touch before thundering home at the near post.
The goal action didn’t stop there as Mason was forced to push Kalv Benjamin’s low effort. From the resulting corner, the highly-rated goalkeeper misjudged the flight with Kennedy making no mistake to give them a consolation.
REACTION: Bootle manager Steve McNulty
Bootle manager Steve McNulty has lauded his young guns on a ‘proud’ night for the youngsters that were involved in the 3-1 triumph.
The win sees them move into the last four of the Liverpool Senior Cup with the final team set to be decided by the victors of Marine and Everton XI.
McNulty opted to field eight changes from the side that was beaten at the weekend by Newcastle Town. In turn, it allowed the likes of Charlie Holland, James Flight, Jack Flight and Cal Hunter to start from the offset with Daniel Lenehan coming off the bench for his first Bootle appearance.
Speaking to Off The Park, he said: “It was good to get a win on the board. We lost Saturday, a disappointing first-half, it was nice to put it right you can only beat what’s in front of you.
“I thought Tranmere put up a good fight, good for some of the young lads to get some minutes with the first-team lads and it was important that the first-team lads who hadn’t been getting game time got minutes under their belt so they’re right when called upon.
“It’s a great occasion for them. We’ve got the Flight twins; James and Jack tonight, the goalkeeper young Joe Mason, young Cal Hunter put a shift in as well.
“We’ve sent a couple of them out on dual-registration so it was good to get them back to our own club and see how they’ve developed, I thought they all done great.”
Bootle 3-1 Tranmere Rovers
Goals: 44′ Nivaldo, 67′ Daniel Lenehan, 79′ Tom Peterson; 87′ Paddy Kennedy
HT/FT Score: 1-0/3-1