This year marks the tenth anniversary of our first FA Vase victory at Wembley and today we recall our epic 4th Round tie at Bootle, which took place ten years ago today, on 17th January 2009.
The game on Merseyside was seen as a tougher test than we had faced at Penrith in the previous round, when an extra time goal from Darren Reay had earned a 1-0 victory. Bootle were flying high in their league and were seen by many as favourites to win the tie.
Horrendous weather and an awful playing surface failed to dampen the spirits of the team and the many fans who had made the journey and despite going 1-0 down just after the interval, goals from Paul Robinson, Paul Chow and Chris Reid saw us to a memorable 3-1 win. Everyone was soaked, but who cared??
Here are a few of the memories of that day from players and management:
Paul Robinson – “The bus pulled up to the ground and it overlooked the pitch which was an absolute bog. Chan looked at me and just shook his head…!”
Mark Taylor – “My main memory was driving through the area and to the ground through an industrial estate and thinking…where the hell are we going? Then I saw the ground, walked in and saw the pitch. It was definitely going to be a battle!”
Chris Moore – “Awful pitch – boggy, heavy rain, a load of angry Scousers on the sideline and did we win with a late goal?? The best memories often come from those ugly wins!!”
Ian Chandler – “The Bootle game, now that was an interesting game!
I remember it had been raining for most of the week and the noises coming out of their camp were the game will be off, but we set off on our travels as we normally did on our Vase outings. All the way down the team changed in my mind over and over again, each mile that past a different team emerged. I think Gav and Cugs eventually agreed with team A only for us to arriving at the ground and see a pitch made for ducks rather than football.
As others mentioned, I saw the pitch, looked at Robbo and he knew what was coming. Team B selected full of hard working running machines who were used, until it was Robbo time… and Reidy actually. Both of them made a huge impact on the game. I think Robbo played as well as I’d ever seem him on a pitch not suited to him. He’d made his point and dragged us through to the next round.
The only other thing I remember, wasn’t Bootle’s pitch near Aintree?”
The match report from the archive section of the website, together with the match photo of Paul Chow battling through the mud, may revive a few memories as well!