So, at the end of the Easter period Salford City's defeats read 0-3, 0-6, 2-6, and any hopes of finishing the season on a high, following the unlucky cup final loss, are truly over.
Despite having suspended keeper Ritchie Branagan back in goal performing heroics, the defence is already on the beach. Time and time again, Burscough just walked through Salford's last line and, more often than not, scored, unless Branagan was throwing himself in the way.
Yet Salford opened the scoring after 16 minutes, when new forward Leon Williams slotted home after being put through by Osebi Abadaki. Burscough almost equalised a few minutes later but two brilliant saves from Ritchie Branagan kept the scores level, first hurling himself to his left to claw away a goal bound shot, and, from the resulting corner, flying to his right to smother another effort.
Branagan was finally beaten a few minutes later when Burscough broke and a forward slammed in a drive from a few yards out. At half time, with the score 1-1, Ammies fans were hopeful of a result. Their dreams were soon extinguished, as Burscough hit two more while people were still in the bar watching the Grand National – the first, whipped in after Jack Lane had headed off the line; the second, a break direct from a Salford corner, Burscough galloping down the other end of the pitch to make it 1-3.
Hard working captain Jamie Rother, who seemed to be almost carrying the team single handedly at times, got his reward on 75minutes, placing a shot inside the keeper's right hand post, and the Salford fans began singing `We're gonna win 4-3'…
Minutes later, however, those chants turned to `We're gonna win 5-4', as Burscough scored again, pouncing on a rebound after another top class save from Branagan. 2-4 down and with five minutes left Burscough were allowed to score two more, the second of those from a free kick which took a deflection off the Salford wall to spin past Branagan. By this time, even the Salford City choir couldn't be bothered singing `We're gonna win 7-6'…
The final 2-6 score left an air of gloom around Moor Lane. But, without Branagan's heroics, it could have been more. And that's worrying.
Photos by Andrew Goudie