Photo's and match summaries from today's Division 2 & 3 Cup finals between Red Rose Catering (2B) v the Dunes (2A) and Christ the King (3B) v Clifton Co-op (3A)
Starting with the much anticipated Division 2 Cup Final between Red Rose Catering FC of Division 2B and The Dunes FC of Division 2A. Red Rose Catering have had a great season winning 2B as well as reaching the semi-final of the Gledhill Cup where they lost to losing finalists Poulton on the same ground only a couple of months previously.
To reach today's final Red Rose received a bye in Round 1, beat Stanley Arms, Wesham 9-2 in Round 2, overcame the Bloomfield Hotel 2-0 in the last eight and hammered Bloomfield Vets 6-1 in the semi-finals.
Opponents the Dunes had a slow start to the season but have gone from strength to strength in recent months. As of the time of writing we've no idea where they'll finish in Division 2A due to the ongoing problems with Chequers but it will be at least third. They too were knocked out by Poulton in the Gledhill Quarter Finals. In order to reach the final they'd had to beat ACR FC 5-1 in Round 1, Pearson Estates 11-1 in Round 2, Marton Institute 8-4 in the last eight and the Gasworkers Club 5-0 in the semi-finals on the Prebond pitch.
The heavy overnight rain had finally stopped but it was still overcast as referee Mark Errington got the game underway at 10:30 with Red Rose kicking off defending the factory end.
Dunes FC in the tangerine.
As expected the first half was very tight with two very eveny matched sides. Chances were very few and far between at at the half time interval it was still goal-less. The best chance came for the Dunes on twenty minutes. The Red Rose defence fell asleep from a throw and this allowed Ben McKay to get behind the defenders. His cross flew low and hard across the area but there was nobody there to take advantage.
Half time score : Red Rose Catering FC 0 – 0 The Dunes FC
At the start of the second half it was the 2B side that were playing the better football. They were dominating possession in the opposition half with Hall and Gillets causing problems for the Dunes' defenders.
I suppose he gets classed as a veteran these days but John Mendonca had a great game when he came on today putting in a powerful performance for Red Rose in the middle of the park.
Dunes keeper Nick Joyce punches the ball clear.
On seventy nine minutes the Red Rose pressure finally paid off. A decisive through ball down the right channel found substitute Stuart Beech and this time he elected for power and thumped the ball past Joyce into the back of the net.
The Red Rose players celebrate the opener amongst the dandelions. 1-0
A talking point in the 89th minute as Mark Errington awarded a controversial penalty for Red Rose after consulting his assistant Steve Waller. A Red Rose forward was adjudged to have been tripped as he ran into the box. The Dunes' management and supporters were not best pleased judging from the expletives emanating from their technical area and claimed that justice was done when Daniel Eaden skied the spot-kick over the bar.
Six minutes into extra time Red Rose sealed the victory with a good goal from Darren Hall. A chipped pass over the top found Hall on-side and he coolly lobbed Joyce and the ball bounced once before going behind the line sparking wild celebrations from the Red Rose followers.
After a tightly matched first half Red Rose came on very strong in the second and their 2-0 win was fully merited. Well done to Red Rose manager Andy Manning and his young team. I look forward to seeing both the Dunes and Red Rose in Division 1 next season if they both go up.
Red Rose manager Andy Manning flanked by the two goal-scorers Stuart Beech (Left) and Darren Hall.
Final Score : Red Rose Catering FC 2 – 0 The Dunes FC
By the time the Division 3 Cup final kicked off between Christ the King (3B) and Clifton Co-op (3A) the rain clouds had cleared leaving blue skies and hot sunshine. Christ the King had finished third in 3B, a position they were disappointed with considering their early season form. To reach today's final they've had to knock out some decent sides. In Round 1 they beat the Shovels 2-1 away, I watched them beat Weeton at Boundary Park 6-3 in Round 2 and in the last eight they beat the Subway 1-0. In the semi final on Prebonds they beat the Gynn 2-1.
Today's opponents Clifton Co-op will finish fourth in Division 3A unless Wrea Green can win their final game on Wednesday evening leaving them in fifth. In Round 1 Clifton had a bye. In Round 2 Clifton beat Talbot Sports & Social 2-1 at home and then went on to beat Supreme FC 6-3 in the quarter Finals. In the semi at Mechanics they had that famous 1-0 extra time win over eventual 3A champions Little Fat Jacks in a game that was televised for the Granada Soccer Night programme.
The officials pose for a pre-match photo. From left to right Tony Cunliffe, referee Stevie Maher and ………………..
The great turnout of supporters clearly enjoying a few drinks in the sunshine.
On the same ground last year Christ the King suffered defeat in the Division 3 Cup to Real Cahoots. The main reason for that disappointing loss was their poor start to the game. They were slow out of the blocks that day and went 2-0 down very early on. They came back well late in the game but on reflection the game was lost in the opening twenty minutes. They were not going to make the same mistake today.
Ref Steve 'DJ' Maher (available for private parties) shows a yellow card to a CTK player.
On twelve minutes Christ the King took the lead. Peter Clarkson burst into the right edge of the box, drew the keeper and slid the ball underneath him. A great finish that settled the nerves of manager Scott Buchanan and his players. 1 – 0.
On 32 minutes Christ the King extended their lead. It was a disastrous moment for Clifton and largely self inflicted. The keeper came out of his box trying to intercept the long ball. He had no option but to try and head it but one of his defenders had the same idea. As they took both themselves out of the game the grateful Lee Blower swept up the pieces and calmly slotted the ball home. 2 – 0. The Co-op had their best chance of the half just before the interval but King keeper Chris Brown pulled off the save of the match.
Half Time score : Christ the King FC 2 – 0 Clifton Co-op FC
As the second half progressed players from both sides began to wilt in the hot sun. The spacious Mechanic's pitch unforgiving at the best of times was beginning to take its toll. Clifton gave all they had but all too often they were denied by solid Christ the King defending.
On 85 minutes Christ the King made it three with the best goal of the whole day. Peter Clarkson picked up the ball wide right and embarked on a run across the box. He rode some lightweight Clifton challenges beating three men in the process before wrappping his left foot around the ball and beating the keeper at the near post. A wonderful individual effort that sealed the victory for Christ the King and that's how it finished.
Final score : Christ the King FC 3 – 0 Clifton Co-op FC
The champagne's flowing as Christ the King celebrate their deserved victory.
The victorious Christ the King Division 3 Cup winning side of 2004/05
Proud Christ The King player manager Scott Buchanan holds the Cup flanked by Man of the Match Peter Clarkson (Left) and his fellow goal-scorer Lee Blower. Well done Christ the King FC from all at fyldesport.com