For the first time in many seasons the Blackpool & Fylde Sunday Alliance had a team through to the last eight of the Lancashire Sunday Trophy. Quilligans had been going very well recently and went into the new year second in the league two points behind leaders Cahoots with three games in hand. Since losing to the Reform Health Club on September 18th they’d put together twelve straight wins in all competitions.
Today’s opponents were the Dog & Partridge FC from Rochdale now called D & P Copperpot FC. Last season they overhauled rivals Littleborough to win the Rochdale & District Sunday league. This morning they were third in the league behind Littleborough who were responsible for their only defeat so far this season. As well as having a decent reserve side most of the D & P team also play together on a Saturday for Whitworth Valley in the Manchester league under the same management committee headed by Barry Luker who’s three sons also play in the team.
Both managers were fortunate enough to largely have their first choice squads available for today’s big game. For January we had A1 conditions for football although the pitch was very firm and bumpy in places. D & P kicked off playing up the slope.
D & P Copperpot FC
When you get to this stage of the competition the game merits independent officials. Today’s trio were from the South Lancs Counties Sunday league. Referee Craig Halliwell flanked by Shaun Pennington (Right) and Mark Woodcock.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks and looked the more dangerous in the opening ten minutes. A big physical side they looked especially threatening from crosses and in the early exchanges they put Quills under some pressure in their own box. However, on fourteen minutes a defensive slip by D & P allowed Beattie a clear cut opportunity but a decent save by the legs of keeper Andy Tyson denied him.
Referee Craig Halliwell.
The more the first half went went on the more the home side began to dominate. Boal and Palmer started to boss the midfield, the defence looked solid and up front Broadbent’s hold up play started to create a lot more offensive possession. The battle between Phil Thompson (Ex Blackpool) and Dave Walsh (Ex Rochdale) for the high ball was an interesting one to watch.
On twenty five minutes a through ball to Broadbent resulted in him firing off a first time left footed half volley that Tyson did well to turn around the post. Whittaker floated in the corner and Phil Thompson rose largely unopposed to nod it past Tyson to put Quilligans 1-0 up.
Thompson is mobbed by his team mates after giving his team the lead.
Quilligans continued the half looking the better team and on forty four minutes a good move up the field resulted an an interchange between Pearson and Beattie with the latter firing just wide of the post. Just before the break Thompson almost repeated his earlier feat when his header from another Whittaker corner just went wide.
Half time score : Quilligans FC 1 – 0 D & P Copperpot FC
In earshot of the Rochdale contingent it was clear they had to change things if they were going to get back into the game and at the interval they moved one of the forwards back into midfield to add some bite and brought on the young striker Chris Ogunyode to take his place up front.
Quilligans get the second half underway.
Straight from the second half whistle Quilligans went upfield and should have made it 2-0. Great persistence by Broadbent allowed him to take the ball off a defender on the byline. He cut inside and played it back for Phil Ionnau who remained composed but his shot bounced back off the bar. The ball fell back to Palmer who’s shot from the edge of the box was cleared away to safety.
In the 55th minute D & P forced a corner but it was headed clear. Another fast flowing move from Quills involving Palmer, Whittaker, Broadbent and Beattie resulted in a goal mouth scramble and that was quickly followed by a couple of typical Broadbent powerful runs that ended with shots that just flew over the bar.
On 65 minutes the visitors equalised with their first real clear cut chance of the game. The ball was won at the back before being played over the top. The pace of Ogunyode took him to the ball first and he clipped it past the advancing Quills keeper Forsyth to make it 1-1. Up until that moment Quills had been really strong at the back but the youngster took it well.
D & P substitute Chris Ogunyode.
As expected the goal invigorated the visitors and for the next ten minutes they were on top of things. A great run down the right from Prescot resulted in a cross to Dave Luker who’s first time effort was well saved on the line by Forsyth.
Quilligans looked to have weathered the storm and once again began to push forward. Another run and snapshot from Broadbent again went wide before Beattie got on the end of a quick free kick, swivelled and lashed it over the bar.
But on seventy four minutes D & P took the lead with a fantastic goal. Nick Dowson won a tackle in his own half out on the left. He played it neatly for Ogunyode who took it on, cut back inside and played it into the path of Dave Luker who’s first time right footed strike arrowed like a bullet across Forsyth and into the top corner – an unstoppable strike. 1 – 2.
A poor goal kick by the Quills keeper fell straight to Walsh who’s pace and power took him past a defender before shooting just wide. At the other end Quills had no option but to press more men forward and they began to put the pressure on with a number of corners and free kicks.
Despite a concerted effort by Quilligans they couldn’t carve out an equaliser and after four minutes of added time referee Halliwell blew his whistle.
Final score : Quilligans FC 1 – 2 D & P Copperpot FC
A disappointing outcome for Quilligans who were in control of the game for long periods. It’s fair to say that the visitors didn’t create a clear cut opening until they equalised but after that they upped their game and scored a decisive winner that was worthy of winning any game. D & P are a very good strong side and have every chance of going on to reach the final and we wish them well.
Quilligans certainly had their chances and a bit of luck early in the second half may have killed off D & P but the crossbar intervened. On a positive note they now know if they didn’t already, that they have a squad that’s clearly capable of winning this famous competition. A great effort this year but better luck to Quills next season.
A good game of football and well officiated by both the Wigan ref and his assistants.
D & P Pepperpot FC scorers Dave Luker (Left) and Chris Ogunyode. The last time these sides met Quills were 2-0 up before Chris’s brother Lance came on to help win the match. Today it was substitute Chris’s turn to help see his team through to the semis.