Carl Macauley has hailed Bootle’s performance in their 2-0 win over 1874 Northwich.
The Bucks moved up to ninth as their turnaround continued following a third consecutive win to increase their unbeaten run to four matches
Jack McGowan moved to within one goal of top goalscorer Ben Hodkinson with his determined effort shortly before the break as Nivaldo scored his second Bootle goal late on to seal the points.
Steve McNulty’s side thoroughly deserved the points for their performance in the triumph and could feel slightly disappointed there wasn’t more gloss added to the result. Hodkinson endured a frustrating afternoon as he came up against an inspired performance from visiting goalkeeper Nosakhare Aghayere.
“It was tough in terms of the opposition, where they are in the league and I think at this present moment, it’s six games, six results,” the assistant manager explained to Off The Park.
“It was important we went in today with the right frame of mind and hunt to try get the three points and I thought that’s what we done.
“It was a good finish by Jack, it’s what he’s about and I thought it was a man-of-the-match performance from him, not for scoring a goal – and an important one – he worked really, really hard and never gives in for his teammates, he was up and down.
“Again, it’s the front four who’ve got goals for us and when we had to defend, we had to defend. They had moments where they had set-plays and Andy Owens is a big threat for us in the attacking box but also a threat for us in the defending box winning some good headers for us to clear the danger.
“Let’s not forget the ‘keeper made two one-on-one saves at crucial stages of the game. All in all, we deserved to get the three points.”
The Bucks leading goalscorer almost got them off to the perfect start in the opening minutes when he brilliantly controlled Jacques Welsh’s crossfield pass, he cut inside and fired goalwards but the 1874 shot-stopper was on hand to claw away.
They went into the break with a slender lead but as well as their impressive attacking display, Macauley was pleased with the work at the back.
He continued: “We were right out of the traps early on in the game, Ben had a great piece of skill down the right, got an opportunity from it.
“We created more chances, I wouldn’t say clearcut but we had opportunities in the final third to punish them and we didn’t. It’s important we kept going and I thought they’re good at way they do, they’re a good footballing side but I thought we defended well when we had to.
“I thought we were good, the shape was good, there was times in the game where we might get overrun but it’s how you adapt and quickly try to back into shape. I thought we done it really well.
“You always go into games and you always demand that you try your best to get clean sheets, we got one today, when you get clean sheets you get results.
“It was the perfect day for us because we got a clean sheet, two goals – Jack on the scoresheet and Val [Nivaldo].
“That’s the presence of us because we’ve got attackers who can score goals, we can rotate with them, give attackers a blow, it’s perfect, it’s a great decision from the gaffer bringing Nivaldo on, bringing Tom [Peterson] off – he threw a big shift in on the Wednesday night and he threw a shift in today – and it’s worked out well. Val got his goal, great composure under pressure and gives us that cushion of two goals.”
The turnaround after their difficult period under the legendary defender has been remarkable as they’ve moved away from the relegation scrap and now sit within touching distance of the playoff race.
But with the difficult task of Workington away looming, the former Witton Albion manager is pleased with how the pieces are beginning to come together.
He continued: “We had to stay faithful with the group and try get the confidence back into camp because we were suffering defeats, it was tough for them and tough for us, at that present moment, you’ve got to keep them confident and try your best to get a result.
“Along the way you have to build what you think will adapt and will be right for us, we’ve brought in a couple of players, the big man up top, he’s not at his fittest at the moment but he’ll be a handful for any defence.
“Josh in goal is a threat, a big lad, a threat as in he smothers things, talks well, kicks strong and we’re finding that balance now, long may that continue, it’s onto the next game, we’ve got to be focused and ready to have that long journey to Workington.
“They’ve worked hard, like I said Jack McGowan was tremendous today, he covered every blade of grass, he works hard for the team, he’s up, down, in the box and he always gets an opportunity and that’s through himself, that ability and being in the right place in the right time.
“He’s the one who stood out for me today but it was a tremendous team performance.”