|Out early in the rain at Commonedge Road watching Little Fat Jacks v West Coast Tackle Postal in Division 2A before moving on to Cahoots v Poulton and Quilligans v Reform in the Prem.|
The Division 2A match between Little Fat Jacks and West Coast Tackle Postal kicked off at 10:15am to get the game over with before the big match between Liverpool and United kicked off at noon. Listening to the game now on Radio 5 whilst writing this they would have been better off staying in bed. West Coast were second in the table this morning. They got off to a great start after winning their first three games but they'd lost the last two against the Old England and most recently against the Highlands when they crashed 4-2 last week. Inbetween they'd been involved in that tempestuous second round Gledhill game when they knocked out the Royal Oxford.
Little Fat Jacks were in ninth at start of play and it's fair to say that the standard in the new Division has taken them a little bit by surprise. After losing the first league match against the Bispham Hotel they lost the week after in the 1st Round of the Gledhill to Division 1 side Clifton Rangers. Since then they've drawn twice in the league against the Victory and rivals the New Castle. Their only win so far this season came in a 5-1 win over Inkmasters.
Referee Mike Mahoney got the game underway with dark skies and light drizzle.
Lee Feehan (Left) enjoys a laugh with West Coast skipper Paul Sumner.
The hoops started off much the better team with ex Quilligan's striker Paul Simpson causing the West Coast defenders a lot of problems. Twice Simpson escaped the back four, twice he fired off decent shots towards goal and twice he was denied by two brilliant saves from West Coast keeper Jason 'JJ' Irving.
West Coast player manager Daryl Prance.
On seventeen minutes the goal eventully came. After a half shout for a penalty the ball fell wide left for Jamie May. He cut inside on the edge of the box and curled a left foot drive into the far top corner. A majestic finish to put Jacks deservedly 1-0 up.Jacks had a couple of chances to increase the lead and Lee Feehan should have scored but his shot beat the keeper and then went wide of the far post.
Jack's Steve Whitworth (Right) flanked by Tony 'The Doc' Docherty
On 31 minutes West Coast created their first real opportunity. Phil Gallagher broke clear on the right but one on one with the keeper he blazed his shot over the bar when he should have hit the target. This spurred on West Coast and at last they started to play some football coming back stronger into the game.
Referee Mike Mahoney.
At half time it was Little Fat Jacks 1 – 0 West Coast. As I trudged off to watch Cahoots v Poulton I thought that West Coast would have carried on where they left off but it wasn't to be. Jacks stepped up a gear and with some better finishing they ran out comfortable 5-0 winners. Jamie May going on to score a hat-trick. A big result for Jacks which will boost confidence for the rest of the campaign. Three league defeats in a row now for West Coast. They hace a couple of weeks off from league action now which might be a good thing.
Cahoots FC were second in the Premier Division this morning and have surprised many people with their excellent start to the season. Unbeaten after a draw against Bispham Juniors and wins against McDonald, Highbury and the Clarence confidence was sky high. Today's opponents Poulton were in fifth after two wins, two draws and two defeats. Last week I watched them score five against Harris & Co but they still didn't pick up three points. After that draw they were looking to tighten up defensively.
Referee Dave Wolfenden finally got this one underway at 11:07 due to a misunderstanding over the allocated pitch. Not long into the game recent signing Kieren Murphy (Above by the post) pulled a hamstring. His substitution enforced a formation change by the Cahoots management team of Mark Faber and Craig Mason. Mid season signing from Singleton Liam Frend went into the back four and utility player Ben Lavin took on the forward role. Having little if any sympathy for Murphy he was given the flag by Faber and asked to 'limp' the line.
Cahoots Danny 'Chaos' Kay and skipper Jordan Black defend the free kick, having a quick ball-count first.
I watched Gary Adams (centre) turn out for AFC Dunes in the Gledhill a couple of weeks ago but he's now back with his mates at Cahoots.
Poulton's Dean Fulford.
Carl Spedding (Left) and Liam Frend.
Ex England schoolboy international Nick Coyle.
Cahoots keeper Andy Speight, in fine form yesterday for Mechanics as well.
Lots of good football in this match from both sides during the first half without any clear cut chances. Poulton probably shading the possession in the last third of the pitch. At half time the score of 0-0 gave a fair reflection of the match. After 90 minutes it again finished level, this time at 1-1. Ben Lavin scored for Cahoots whilst Carl Spedding got the goal for Poulton. A decent result for both sides but taking into account the scores from elsewhere a win would have done either team a lot of good.
On Prebonds Quilligans were playing leaders Reform Health Club. At start of play Reform were two points clear of Cahoots at the top of the table. Like fellow promoted side Cahoots, Reform have also got off to a flyer in the higher Division. They've had four wins and only one defeat. Opponents Quilligans have got off to a mixed start. After their opening day draw against McDonald they put together a run of three straight wins and three straight clean sheets in league and Cup but last week came unstuck against St Annes Ex Service when losing 4-3. They were in fifth at start of play.
Yesterday a number of the same players faced each other in the Blackpool Wren Rovers v Kirkham & Wesham fixture. Kirkham won the game 1-0 and now Mick Horsfall and Dougie Shaw were looking for their second win of the weekend against the likes of Butler and Devereaux.
When I arrived early in the second half Quilligans were 1-0 up following a 35th minute opener from Adam Pickering.
On the hour Reform equalised. Quilligans conceded a free kick on the left edge of the area. The ball was whipped over to the far post and Dougie Shaw, completeley unmarked, powered a strong header into the top corner past stand-in keeper Dave Butler.
Dougie Shaw is congratulated by team-mates following the equaliser.
Quilligans' Stuart Bracewell.
Dave Butler tips one over the bar for a corner.
Reform were dominating second half possession and it was little surprise when they went ahead. Mick Horsfall broke free down the left and looked set to shoot but instead looked up and squared it for Matt Rainbow who's left foot shot flew past Butler into the bottom corner.
Five minutes later and it was 3-1, Reform were rampant. Great work from Rainbow down the left found Horsfall. He headed it on for Nick Pugh who slipped it past Butler. Quilligans looked shell-shocked but it was no more than Reform deserved. Quilligans, never a team to give up fought back and not long from the end they were awarded a contentious penalty by referee Underwood. Bracewell stepped up and slotted home making for an interesting last few minutes.
Bracewell (Right) prepares for the spot kick.
Referee Underwood takes the name of Dougie Shaw for time wasting. (Kicking the ball away).
The Reform keeper gets called into action as league secretary Peter Collins looks on.
That's how it finished with Reform winning 3-2. A great second half performance, very impressive in all areas of the pitch. Part 2 next week when the reverse fixture takes place on the same ground. Although taking nothing away from Reform for a second, Quilligans did have a very make-shift squad out today and it showed as they hardly created anything in the second half. Statisticians will be going through the record books to find out the last time they lost two league games in succession. Can the wounded animal bounce back next week ?
Dave Butler firmly laid the blame for Quill's defeat on former team-mate Micky Horsfall saying, “the horse never played that well for us!”