Sportspy Reports from Blackpool Mechanics FC.
Premier Division class tells as Poulton SFC triumph over Red Rose Catering in the first of the Gledhill Cup Semi-Finals.
Division 2B's Red Rose Catering FC in no order ; Chris Brown, Tom Didlock (C), Alan Harrison, Paul O'Keefe, Daniel Eden, Tristan Haddon, Ryan England, James Bullen, Anthony Kozakiewicz, Darren Hall, Danny Gillets, John Mendonca, Scott Roberts, Jimmy Rawcliffe, Kevin Langton and Derek Stewart. Manager Andy Manning pictured far right.
Referee Tony Zak got the game underway a few minutes early with Red Rose kicking directly into the cold northerly wind. The lower Division side started brightly and went ahead after only five minutes. A good interchange on the left edge of the box led to a great low cross coming in and Darren Hall moved across the defenders and flicked it home.
On twenty minutes the Premier side equalised from the penalty spot. Referee Zak adjudging that one of the Red Rose defenders had handled the ball. There were few if any complaints from the Red Rose players. Gareth Fegan stepped up and made it 1 – 1 with a fierce shot that gave keeper Chris Brown no chance.
Red Rose keeper Brown comes out to punch the ball clear.
The wind was getting stronger and the Red Rose keeper was struggling to get any distance on his goal kicks. From one such kick Poulton took the lead on twenty-eight minutes. Brown's kick caught in the wind and fell to Poulton's left midfielde Ben Hopes (Pictured above). He controlled the ball and then unleashed a left foot dipping half volley from twenty – five yards which found the top corner. It was a brilliant effort and proved to be the best goal of the game.
On 37 minutes Poulton extended their lead. Another goal-kick caught in the wind and this time the ball fell to Gareth Fegan. His cross to the far post was met by Dean Fulford who squared it for Danny Morris who made no mistake from eight yards.
Half time score : Poulton SFC 3:1 Red Rose Catering FC
At the beginning of the second half Red Rose came out strong. With the wind now behind them they knew that if they could manage an early goal they'd be right back in it. The next five minutes were to prove crucial. Firstly Poulton keeper Kevin Kennerley pulled off two vital saves. The first was a brave block at the near post. He didn't know much about it but it deflected the ball for a corner. Moments later he snatched the ball from the feet of John Mendonca who perhaps should have done better. Following these good chances Poulton went up the other end and forced a corner. Fegan drove the ball over and the impressive Danny Porter rose un-opposed to direct a firm header over the keeper and into the top corner of the net.
The goal was the killer blow for the 2B team but they kept together and continued to push forward showing great spirit. Prolific forwards Gillets and Hall were giving 100% running for everything but the experienced Poulton defence kept them at bay.
On seventy minutes Poulton put the game completely beyond doubt. This time Dean Fulford's shot looped high over the keeper and into the net.
Referee Zak shows a red card to one of the Red Rose players. This wasn't a fair reflection of the game. A lot was riding on this very important match and overall it was played in great spirit.
Tony Zak blows the whistle at the end of the game and Poulton SFC are through to the final at Bloomfield Road. The players celebrate their victory at the end of the match.
It wasn't a bad game for such a high pressure encounter. Going in 3 – 1 down at half time gave Red Rose something of a mountain to climb but if they'd converted one of those ealy second half chances they might have got back into it. Poulton's fourth through Danny Porter on fifty minutes all but sealed it for the Premier Division outfit. Defensively, Poulton were excellent today and made the most of their chances up front. Three of the five goals were geat efforts well worthy of a semi-final. Clearly, the Red Rose players and supporters will be disappointed but they've done really well to get this far knocking out some good teams along the way. Andy Manning and his squad have got to pick themselves up and go on to finish the season strongly hopefully winning promotion to Division 1 and doing well in the Division 2 Cup.
Good luck to manager Alan Cocker and Poulton SFC in the final.