Bucks Hit Barnton For Five
Hot-shot Cox nets four in five star performance. Image: Kieran Sloan
Ryan Cox opened his account for the new season with a four-goal haul as Bootle moved into second in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division.
The hot-shot forward had endured a somewhat frustrating spell in front of goal in the Bucks’ previous outings, but against Barnton here, Cox returned to his normal self, scoring four times, including a first-half hat-trick, to ensure his sides unbeaten league start was maintained.
Joe Doran and Phil Stafford’s side came into the game having squandered a two-goal lead in their last outing against West Didsbury and Chorlton on Tuesday night, having to ultimately settle for a point in a six-goal thriller.
But here this was a Bootle team playing with the swagger, the panache and the arrogance of last season. This was a Bootle team enjoying once again putting their opposition to the sword with a ruthless act of attacking play.
The game was less than five minutes old when the Bucks carved out their first opening with Barnton keeper Chris Kieran denying both Cox and Michael Ordish in quick succession.
Moments later though, and the Bucks were ahead. James Howell’s lofted ball forward was latched onto by Cox whose first-time half-volley sailed over Kieran and into the back of the net.
Barnton, however, created chances themselves with Chris Blandell curling over before Bootle keeper Charlie Taylor produced superb save to keep the visitors at bay. Patrick Hamid released Chris Smith whose low effort was superbly tipped over by Taylor.
By that point though, the Bucks had already doubled their advantage. Connor Millington coolly back-heeled the ball into the path of the onrushing Cox whose delicate dink rolled over the line despite Zak Pearson’s best efforts to clear.
Bootle continued to pile on the pressure, with Kieran denying Ste Jones from close-range after the Bucks forward had reacted quickest to a loose ball inside the box.
But on the stroke of the half-time, the Bucks would make it three. Daniel Murphy’s long ball cut open the Barnton defence and released Haligan down the right, the winger then crossed for Cox who had the easiest of finishes into the empty net.
Nine minutes into the second and Cox netted his and Bootle’s fourth of the afternoon when substitute Jonathon Swattton and Haligan combined before the latter crossed for the unmarked Cox who was never going to miss.
The Bucks completed the rout with twenty-five minutes remaining, this time Millington and Haligan combined inside the Barnton box to set-up Jones, whose left-footed effort found the far corner of the net via the post.
At other end, Taylor twice denied Barnton a consolation. First, he pushed away James McShane’s curling free-kick – before the keeper, making his first start of the season, reacted well to block Blandell’s rebound from close-range.
This afternoon though belonged to that man Cox.