Up at Broadwaters we saw the latest twist in the fascinating race for the Division 1 title when leaders Harris & Co took on the Philharmonic. In 3B, one of the favourites, the Steamer had a tough looking game against Skye FC and down the bottom AFC Moghul were up against Fleetwood Gym who were one place above them.
This morning the Steamer FC were in third place in 3B ten points behind leaders Shovels but with five games in hand. Their opponents today, Skye FC, were down in ninth but had recently been enjoying a strong finish to the season. The sides were meeting for the first time this season and a win for the Steamer was essential with a crunch fixture coming up next week against the Shovels.
Skye FC sporting the Real Madrid kit this week.
The Steamer FC apply some early pressure.
The Skye forward takes a relaxed attitude to the game.
The Steamer started sloppily and were quickly 1-0 down. Things went from bad to worse when one of their players was sent off by Miss Halpin for foul play. However, this seemed to inspire the Fleetwood team and on thirty seven minutes they equalised.
Skye FC celebrate going 1-0 up.
The Skye FC 'Ninja' keeper looks to keep the Steamer forwards at bay.
Well, that's one way of trying to put the free kick taker off his stride.
I only had time to watch the first half of this game and the Moghul match before moving on to the main event in Division 1. The Steamer, with only ten men, went on to win the game 3-2 in an unconvincing display. They'll have to improve for next week's big match against the Shovels.
In the other 3B game bottom club AFC Moghul were away against Fleetwood Gym. Moghul, twenty one games without a win, had managed a couple of draws recently but were still the only club in the Alliance still to earn a victory. Following Anchorsholme Park Ranger's resignation the Gym were only one place above them. They'd beaten leaders Shovels in December 7-3 and always seem to score a lot of goals but are far too often guilty of letting too many in at the other end. These two sides last met in mid October when Fleetwood Gym walloped the Moghul 14-2 away.
AFC Moghul FC looked like they had eleven goal-keepers playing today as they sported a horrendous grey kit.
An AFC Moghul player (Richard Hitchins) takes a throw-in closely watched by Fleetwood Gym manager Tony Cowell. His lads Philip and Jonathan were turming out for the Gym and his daughter was on the adjacent pitch playing a junior friendly in nets for the Gym against Thornton.
Referee Mr Steve Garrett makes a note of a Gym goal.
Fleetwood Gym celebrate going 4-0 up through Alistair Riches with lots of cuddles. This followed shortly after a brilliant third from Gary Webster who rifled in a classic far post volley that gave the keeper no chance.
The man with one of the hardest jobs in Sunday football ? Moghul manager Kev Quirke. He was without four first team regulars today and his team were down to ten men for most of the first half. The score finished 9-0 to the Gym, a rare clean sheet for the Fleetwood outfit. Moghul still without a win and with only two games left they'll be struggling to get one. At least they've stuck through it through this first tough season in Sunday football.
The main game up at Broadwaters involved new leaders Harris & Co up and the Philharmonic. The Philly are having one of their 'typical' inconsistent seasons. Like most teams in Division 1 they're well capable of beating anybody on their day. This was proved last week when I watched some of their game against recent leaders the Sanctuary. The Philharmonic played great in that game and were well worthy of the 3-0 win. They were in tenth position at start of play.
These two sides last met on December 12th when the Philharmonic beat Harris & Co 3-2 at home. Since then Harris have gone on an excellent run of nine games unbeaten in all competitions. This blistering spell of form has not only taken them to the top of the league but also propelled them through to the semi-finals of the Division 1 Cup where they meet Castle Gardens for a place in the final next week. This season Harris & Co have picked up a few good players from the Broadway who were in the Prem last season. When I arrived to watch the whole of the second half Harris had gone in at half time 1-0 up following a goal from Ronnie Moss.
Harris & Co (White shirts) had a great early second half chance to extend their lead but as pictured in the above shot the ball flew agonisingly wide – he should have scored.
The Philharmonic were playing some good stuff and pushing hard for an equaliser and it came not long into the second half. A high cross into the box caused confusion between the Harris keeper and one of his centre backs. They got in each others way and clashed, the ball falling kindly for Glenn Worden who coolly tapped it in.
Minutes later and the Philharmonic went ahead. Poor marking at a corner allowed Adam Butler to rise almost unchallenged to head it past the Harris keeper. 1:2
The Philharmonic had the ball in the net to make it 3-1 but the headed goal was ruled out for offside. The flag was up early but the Ref was a little late in spotting it.
On 65 minutes Harris & Co equalised. The Philly failed to clear and when the ball came out to the edge of the box it was smashed home. A fierce half volley that gave the keeper no hope. 2-2
There can't be that many Sunday football grounds in Britain where you can get a good view of the action from a tram.
Referee Colin Brownsell obscured by a Harris player.
Late on Harris & Co had a big shout for a penalty but it was waved away by the Ref leaving many of the players incensed.
Referee Brownsell ends the game with a blow of his whistle. The second half could have gone either way but I thought the Philharmonic edged possession and created the better chances Harris & Co will feel aggrieved that they were denied a penalty but won't be all that disappointed with a draw. 2-2 it finished and with three other draws in Division 1 today there's still everything to play for in the race for the title.