|Sportspy reports from Prebonds, Commonedge Road.|
The Division 1 Cup Semi-Final between Fluid Edge FC and Fleetwood Cricket Club FC.
This morning Fluid Edge were fourth in Division 1 after being promoted from Division 2A last season. Ten wins and six draws from the first twenty one games had given them an impressive thirty six points and with five games left to play they're still very much in the hunt for a top three finish.
At start of play Fluid Edge were still unbeaten in 2005 after going eight games without defeat. The team had a shaky start in the new Division only winning once in their opening seven games. If they'd had a more confident start they could have been in with a real shout of the title.
Fleetwood CC are presently 7th in the league ten points behind today's opponents with a game in hand. They've had seven wins and five draws in the first twenty games. Their league form hasn't been too good lately with only one win against the Sanctuary in the last seven matches.
These two sides met on the first day of the season when Fleetwood CC turned over Fluid Edge 3-2 at Blackpool Mechanics but in the reverse league fixture in October the sides drew 4-4 at Broadwaters.
To reach today's semi final Fleetwood CC had won away at Singleton Village 3-2 in Round 1 and in the Quarter Finals finally overcame the Argosy Sports & Social 4-3 in a replay after the first game finished 3-3. Fluid Edge beat West Coast Tackle Postal 2-1 in Round 1 and in the Quarter Final played very well against the Reform Health Club and ended up beating them 4-3.
So, on recent form Fluid Edge went into the game as favourites. Today's referee was Graham Nixon and the two young linesmen were Ben McDonald and the son of BFSFA top flight ref Sandy Gear. After yesterday's balmy temperatures the weather was pretty much back to normal with a strong Southerly breeze.
Fluid Edge FC's John Emery.
Early in the game both teams had great chances to take the lead. On three minutes John Emery hit the post when he really should have scored and at the other end, a few minutes later, only a reaction save at close range from the Fluid keeper Andy Bellamy kept Fleetwood out.
A bit of a scramble in the Fluid box as Fleetwood CC go close from a corner.
Fleetwood's Michael Walmsley, a constant threat
Fluid's Rab Moore celebrates the opener
On 31 minutes Fluid Edge took the lead. Dogged persistence from Simon Bowden on the right led to the goal. The Fleetwood defender appeared to hesitate as he claimed a throw-in but the flag stayed down. Bowden beat his man cut inside and played a peach of a pass across the box and there at the far post was Rab Moore (Pictured above) to smash the ball home. 1:0
Despite the setback Fleetwood finished the half the stronger putting a lot of pressure on the Fluid defence. They almost equalised through an own goal but the wicked deflection was tipped on to the bar by the Fluid stopper.
Half Time Score : Fluid Edge FC 1:0 Fleetwood Cricket Club FC
Man-of-the-Match, Fluid Edge skipper Paul 'Subby' Sumner
Both sides started the second half brightly but it was Fluid Edge who extended their lead on 53 minutes. All the credit must go to Paul 'Smudger' Smith. He picked up the ball just in his own half and shrugged off a couple of Fleetwood challenges before laying the ball out wide to Moore. He cut in from the flank, looked up and played the ball back into the path of Smith who'd continued his run. Smith scuffed his shot but the ball fell kindly for Emery at the far post who made no mistake from close range. 2:0
Fluid retreat to their own half after celebrating the second goal.
Referee Mr Nixon kindly helps a Fleetwood player out with a touch of cramp.
Paul 'Smudge' Smith getting some extra attention from the Fleetwood rearguard
A Fleetwood CC player receives a yellow card. No real problems in this game though for Mr Nixon as both teams retained their discipline throughout despite a final place being at stake.
Fleetwood were rocked by the second goal but only for about five minutes. They then began to put the pressure on again as they pushed men forward in an attempt to get back into the game. Both managers made a couple of substitutions but the game remained just as close.
Fleetwood created a few corners and long throws into the box in the latter stages but the Fluid Edge team stayed resolute and comfortably held out for the 2-0 win and place in the final on May the 8th at Highbury Avenue, Fleetwood.
Final score : Fluid Edge FC 2:0 Fleetwood Cricket Club FC
A good peformance today by the Fluid players. They were well organised in defence and the forwards worked hard both on and off the ball. Overall they deserved to go through to the final. Fleetwood CC were unlucky not to go ahead early on. Throughout the game they had a fair share of the overall possession but couldn't create any real cut chances. They didn't really get going until the last fifteen minutes of the first half when they played some of their best football but in the end it just wasn't to be their day. Good luck to Daz Meehan and his Fluid Edge team in the final.