Manager Peter Withe made several changes from the previous game, skipper Raphale Evans missed out through injury with Josh Symons replacing him at centre-back. Ryan Stayte moved back into central midfield while Ricky Anane was restored to his more familiar right-back position. Aliou Traore came back into the starting line up at the expense of Franck Atangana.
The Saxons started the match the better of the two sides, just three minutes in John Marsden had a half chance on the turn which was well blocked by the keeper and then Marsden again was denied what appeared to be a clear penalty when his shot struck the arm of a defender. The referee waved play on and from the resulting break Russell Saunders, on debut, was called into action for the first time, saving well from Daniel O'Connor's effort.
The Saxons were denied a second penalty when Ricky Anane was tripped in the area, the referee viewed it as simulation however and showed Anane the yellow card.
The home side took the lead on 36 minutes. A deep cross from the left found Lee Thompson unmarked at the back post, and although Saunders got hands to the ball he was unable to keep out the strikers powerful header.
Gomez Dali had the perfect chance to equalise almost immediately when he was sent clear by Liam Irwin, but his tame effort was saved by the Bootle keeper.
The second half began slowly and the game became a real midfield tussle, neither side really gaining the ascendency. Both sides had half chances but there were no efforts of note until with around 20 minutes to go Bootle doubled their lead. A long ball out of defence was flicked on by Daniel O'Connor for Kevin Black to race onto and he lifted the loose ball over the onrushing Saunders.
At two goals down it was essential that The Saxons respond positively to come back into the match. Marsden had a fabulous opportunity following good work by Dali on the left, however the keeper made a tremendous save to keep out his effort from 6 yards out.
In spite of the introduction of Atangana, The Saxons failed to create much more as the game fizzled out in the dying minutes and the game ended at 2-0. There were certainly positives to take out of the game. The visitors had by no means been outclassed by the Bootle side sitting atop the league table and were in fact the better side for long periods. Had they been awarded just one of the penalties they were seemingly denied, and had Marsden or Dali taken their chances it could have been a different game. Bootle had chances too and they may feel they could have won by more than they did, however that would have been an unfair reflection of the match.
The Saxons face Glossop away at Surrey Street on Tuesday evening in what will be another tough game, Peter Withe will undoubtedly be working hard with his staff to lift the players for that game, although there still appears to be plenty of confidence and positivity in the camp, John Marsden and Josh Symons both spoke to the Stockports Sports media team after the game;
“The results in the last two games have been gutting, but the team as a unit is strong and the past two games are only minor set-backs in what will be a long season. The boys will all stick together and we are all working hard to rectify this for Tuesday nights game”
“I think we missed our captain Raph, there was no communication on the field. We had a few clear chances which we missed, however if we had scored then I think it would have been a completely different game. Ricky was brought down in the box at 0-0, if we'd been given that penalty I think we would have taken the game and maybe won it by a bit”
The club will be running transport for supporters to attend away games, beginning with the fixture at Glossop on Tuesday evening. For anyone interested they should e-mail email@example.com