Pitch 1 at commonedge Road was called off early morning due to the heavy frost. Many of the other referees waited until the last minute and a couple delayed the kick off times by about fifteen minutes. The Prebond pitch was the worst of the lot due to the short grass but a 30 minute delay to the listed kick off time meant that the re-arranged Gledhill 4th Round Cup tie was also played.
The games going ahead meant that I could check in on four teams for the first time this season – Inkmasters, Saddle, Burlington and Autoweld. In the above picture Inkmasters (Yellow) were at home to third placed the New Castle. After a poor run Inkmasters had shown some signs of improvement and in the first fifteen minutes they were competing well against one of the favourites for the title. It wasn't to last as the offensive power of the New Castle eventually took them to an 8-1 win.
In Division 2B the Saddle FC are struggling one place off the bottom. Fifteen defeats from the first sixteen games has made for a torrid first half to the season. Despite the late kick off they could only muster ten men at the start of their game against fifth placed Brannigans Reserves, a team they were beaten 5-4 by back in September. The end result turned out to be just as close as Brannigans completed a league double with a 3-2 victory.
The Saddle in blue.
The Saddle's liner who gave us one of the best touchline falls of the season finally sees the funny side.
I'm going for my haircut tomorrow. What number is that ?
New referee for the Alliance Mr Hartshorn just moved up here from the Midlands.
Brannigan's Mattie Wannell (subbed at half time by ruthless manager Guy Gillespie) watches the second half with Mum and the dog.
Not many matches survived in Division 3B today but the Links Hotel Reserves managed to beat a spirited Burlington's side 2-0 to keep in touch with the leaders. There's some big lads in that Burlington's team.
The Burlington's keeper. He claimed to have had the ball kicked out of his hands for the Link's opener and makes his feelings clear to the ref in the picture below.
In Division 2B Fylde Coast Gates moved up into sixth with a couple of games in hand after a 7-0 win over unpredictable Autoweld.
Manager Rick Melling inbetween the sticks today for Autoweld in a game to forget for the South Fylde outfit.
Things are getting interesting at the top of Division 2B. Newly promoted Shovels are going really well after a slow start. They took on the Links Hotel today and managed to beat them 3-2. That's six straight wins now for the local making it nineteen points taken from the last twenty-one available. They'd beaten the Links 3-1 earlier in the season and were trailing 1-0 at half time but a strong second half performance gave them the points.
Referee Steve Waller stepping in at the last minute to officiate.
Shovel's skipper Neil Ashford climbs the highest from the corner.
An 11:30 kick off on Prebonds allowed the pitch to soften and that meant the re-arranged Gledhill 4th Round tie between Red Rose Catering of Division 1 and Quilligans of the Prem could finally take place. At half time the score was level at 1-1 and the 1st Division side were certainly giving the holders something to think about. In the second half there weren't that many chances but Quilligan's Lee Conway sealed the tie with a great strike from twenty five yards out that flew in the corner. Red Rose look Premier Division bound and looked comfortable against top league opponents. They had a lot of possession in the opposition half but rarely carved out any clear cut chances. Quilligan's were denied what looked to be a clear cut penalty late on by referee Maher when Broadbent was clumsily hacked down. Red Rose ended the game with ten men after their centre half Langton received his fourth yellow card of the weekend. Quilligans are away to Division 2B's Partner marketing FC in the last eight.
The big crowd watches on.
Quilligan's keeper Forsyth saves well from a Red Rose free kick.