Early exits in the Melling Shield resulted in a league fixture for these two sides today. Highfield Social had lost to Bloomfield WMC in Round 1 whilst St Annes Ex Service, although having beaten Poulton had been removed from the competition after inadvertently fielding an ineligible player.
A win for the Highfield today would have seen them go fourth ahead of the Clarence whilst a win for St Annes Ex Service would have seen them climb up from ninth to sixth.
Back on Halloween St Annes Ex Service had beaten the Highfield 3-1 in the reverse fixture and a win today would have given them their first double of the season. Highfield, after giving up the lead twice to Quiligans last week only to end up losing were looking to put that disappointment behind them.
The wasted journey to the Oval meant that I arrived about fifteen minutes into the game to find St Annes Ex Service already 1-0 up. Danny McKenzie with the goal, a good one by all accounts but I unfortunately missed it. For the next twenty minutes St Annes Ex Service were dominant laying siege to the Highfield goal. In the above picture St Annes were unlucky not to go 2-0 up but a combination of Highfield keeper Mark Brookes and the crossbar denied them.
A decent sized crowd of all shapes and sizes takes cover from the light drizzle.
St Annes Ex Service's Tony McKee
Approaching half time it was Highfield's turn to put the pressure on. They started to play the ball out wide right for 'Jimmy' who was having a degree of success against the Ex Service left back but the forwards just couldn't finish off his string of decent deliveries.
St Annes Ex Service enjoy a half time drink one goal to the good.
Mr Mike (Barney) Mahoney the referee in charge of today's game.
Highfield started the second half as they'd ended the first mounting wave after wave of attacks but they still couldn't score. Ex Service were still very dangerous at the other end, especially on the break and were again unlucky not to increase the lead when another shot came back off the bar.
Highfield's Gaz Hargreaves (Right)
Sack the Ex Service kit man ! St Annes displaying various shades of yellow this morning.
12:01 and these Ex Service followers were at the Shovels Bar topping up from last night, the rear car park giving them an excellent view of the game.
On 75 minutes Highfield Social finally equalised following some great football. 'Jimmy' again causing danger down the right had a good run with the ball before laying it off for Hargreaves, he in turn took it on ten yards before playing a clever pass inside back to Jimmy. Approaching the by-line he looked up and played the ball over hard and low and this time Ryan Chorlton (Pictured above at the far post) kept his concentration and slotted home.
St Annes Ex Service almost regained the lead immediately. A poor back pass was intercepted by McKenzie who again brought out a good save from Brookes. The rebound should have been put away but with an open goal another Ex Service player scuffed his shot wide.
With end of the game in its latter stages emotions boiled over following a bad challenge on McKenzie by one of the Highfield rearguard. The Ref and a Highfield peacemaker attempt to calm down McKenzie.
Mr Mahoney has a stern word with the Highfield culprit.
Despite both teams having further good chances to win it neither side could make the breakthrough and the match finished all square at 1-1. I never thought I'd end up watching these two sides this morning but I'm glad I did as it was one of the most entertaining games I've seen all season full of goal-mouth action at either end with both teams playing some geat football on one of the better Fylde pitches. I expect both sides would have gone back to their respective clubs believing they should have won but from the neutral perspective neither side deserved to lose and a draw was the right result.