Bootle manager Brian Richardson is eyeing his first win of the season as the Bucks travel to Congleton Town in the FA Cup.
They picked up their first points of the season when they drew with Widnes on Tuesday. Bootle came close to securing all three points through Jack McGowan but Stephen Rigby’s wonderstrike levelled the clash.
It was a nightmare start to the season, however, as last season’s playoff contenders Leek Town ran out 4-0 winners.
Reflecting on their opening two clashes, the Bootle boss told Off The Park: “(We were) Outclassed on Saturday, they were far, far stronger than we were. A little bit disappointing really, I never foresaw – you never do – the first game of the season, you’re always hoping going to open up in a positive frame of mind so it did put us backwards after the match I felt.
“I thought we got a response on Tuesday, a late worldie I’ll call it, great goal. I honestly thought we’d nicked something like I thought we’d of kept a clean sheet in the second half and won it but it was not to be. We had some good chances, a neutral might say it’s a fair result but I felt the first half especially we were the better side but fair play to them when they equalised they had 10-15 when they had us on the ropes.”
“It possibly went wrong from one to 11, we didn’t defend well, certainly didn’t create anything and they dominated us in midfield, I don’t think it can get much worse than that do you? From there, the only way is up you’ve got to accept that,” Richardson added when reflecting on where it went wrong against Leek Town.
“My biggest disappointment on Saturday was unlike Tuesday, we gave goals away that were very much defendable whereas on Tuesday night it was a fabulous goal. But none of the Leek goals you’ll say were well worked, they earned them, they were poor mistakes, poor defending, poor marking, getting your line right and letting lads run behind you.
“Despite the very convincing defeat, here was nothing about the goals that we’ve not spoke about when we’ve talked about defending before. When you get a goal like Tuesday night you hold your hands up and say fair play. But I always feel we have to work harder for our goals than teams playing against us.”
This weekend, Bootle’s FA Cup campaign begins as they face the tough trip to Congleton Town. The North West Counties side have four points from their first four matces.
But for the Bucks, there are some injury worries. Richardson revealed: “A lot of our teams at our level haven’t got a good record against Counties sides because when it comes, it comes fairly quick, Counties in that fortnight have got four games before we actually start and I think that makes a massive difference, that’s not making an excuse that’s a fact.
“They’re quite a direct side, in the past when we’ve played teams who are quite direct we tend to play the same way instead of our own style of football.
“So the big concern for me is the number of people missing due to one thing or another. We’ve got Connor Millington, Charlie Holland, Cian McDermott unavailable, Matty Rain’s ripped his hamstring so he’s unavailable then we’ve got four on the treatment.
“Team’s at level don’t carry 22 that earn money, we’ve had to sign a number of the youth team players. It looks like we’re going to have to patch up and get a result. If we can pitch the team up, we want to get through, you need a win on the board.”