|I was hoping that I'd be chalking off a new Alliance venue this morning at Lytham Cricket Club but with the dreary summer game still continuing the Division 3B match between new team The Fairhaven FC and Ward Heating FC had to be switched to Commonedge Road.|
The Fairhaven FC are new to the Alliance this season and after something of a recent drought it's good to see them add to the growing contingent of sides from South Fylde. Prior to the game I knew absolutely nothing about them apart from the fact that they've matured from a five a side outfit and that their sponsor is a decent Pub if ever you're passing apart from its clear obsession with the egg chasing game of Rugby Union and local hero Bill Beaumont – More football pictures on the walls please.
For a new team they've had a very good start to Sunday morning football. They've collected seven points from their first four matches with two wins and a draw. The only defeat came against league leaders Spindles in their inaugural game. The two wins came against current strugglers Staining CES and Uncle Toms Cabin and they had a good draw against Secure Health FC. The league table saw the Fairhaven in 8th place this morning. Today would be a tough test for them.
In the Gledhill they received a first round bye but a tough draw against 3A leaders Autoweld saw them go out in Round 2 after a 3-1 defeat last week.
Ward Heating FC played last season as Phoenix Old Town Hall FC and finished tenth in the basement Division. They were one of the very few teams that I failed to see in action last season so I made it a point to get out and see them early in this campaign.
Under new sponsor Ward Heating they've got off to a flyer with four straight league wins which considering they won only eight league games throughout the whole of last season is something of a considerable improvement.
They were second in the table on goal difference this morning behind leaders Spindles with a game in hand. The four victories had come against Staining CES, McKenzies Estates and a double aginst the Windmill FC. In the Gledhill they were narrowly beaten by 3A side Mythop Leisure 2-1 in the first round.
At last we had first class weather conditions for Sunday football with blue skies, warm sunshine and only a slight breeze which is the best you can ever hope for at Commonedge Road.
Today's referee was Mr Paul Drinnan (Ex Elswick FC player/manager). I watched him warm up for this one earlier in the week as he officiated the Under 10's friendly between South Shore Youth and Blackpool Rangers at the same venue. Let's hope he'd do better this morning. (Humour).
We were underway punctually at 11am with the Fairhaven in the white strip having the advantage of the rare South Easterly breeze.
Ward Heating FC (Manager Mick Hutchinson far right)
The Fairhaven FC – Manager Darren Openshaw (Crutches)
Heads it is.
I can't do that anymore.
Ward Heating FC keeper John (JD) Sherlock.
A great opportunity for Fairhaven goes begging.
BFSFA Secretary Peter Collins (Left) watches on.
The first half was on the whole evenly matched with both teams playing some very neat football. If anything Fairhaven edged it. On numerous occasions the long ball down the flanks combined with the pace of the strikers resulted in some very good chances to take the lead.
The best chance however fell to Ward on 43 minutes when a poor back pass let Graeme Hutchinson in on goal but he fluffed the opportunity. A very entertaining half of football despite the nil nil scoreline.
Half time score : The Fairhaven FC 0 – 0 Ward Heating FC
'Kids of the week' – No kids watching the featured game this morning but on the adjoining pitch Marty Shields (Left) was watching dad Chris turn out for his upteenth club in the Alliance (Fylde Coast Gates FC) whilst his young pal Kaylen Lyne was supporting dad Rob on his return for Gates following a broken ankle.
Fairhaven goal keeper Ian Mulligan.
The Ward Heating FC player (Left) sets himself for the throw as he tries his hardest not to be put off by the worrying scenes on the adjoining Fylde Coast Gates touchline. Apparently it was either some strange club ritual or a disturbing initiation ceremony. Cut !
Much prettier and far more civilised.
Strange how the slight advantage of the strengthening breeze can make so much difference. From almost the first minute Ward Heating kicking towards the sea with the breeeze on their backs were in full control. Only a double save from Mulligan stopped them taking the lead.
On 51 minutes Ward finally went ahead. From the second of two corners Ryan Lowe fired in the cross. The ball rebounded to Lowe and this time his precision delivery to the far post found the head of Marlow who made no mistake. 0 – 1.
I know I promised a video of the goal but technical difficulties mean that this will not now be possible. (I mistakenly taped over it) What a knob – profuse apologies as it was really good.
After the goal you could see the confidence surging through the Ward players. The Fairhaven long ball was failing to have any impact resulting in the forwards becoming isolated. There was no plan B.
On 64 minutes Ward increased the lead. A long hoof (Expertly placed pass full of vision) from Roger Wignall found the lively but bolshy Hutchinson clean through. To be honest Mulligan should have come for it but he stayed rooted in his six yard box and paid the penalty.
He made some great stops in the match but he must take responsibility for the goal. 0 – 2.
Cool as you like. Ward Heating striker Graeme Hutchinson 'celebrates' scoring the second.
Under the cosh. Referee Drinnan has to calm down a couple of Fairhaven team-mates who were at each others throats.
The aviation anoraks were appreciative of my Red Arrow picture last week so here's the Air Ambulance as an added bonus.
A great point blank reaction palm over the bar by Mulligan from a diving header.
The killer goal came on 75 minutes but it was no more than Ward Heating FC deserved. Another break down the right wing resulted in a speculative shot from Martin Marlow that took a deflection past mulligan into the bottom corner. A fortunate strike for Ward but as Marlow aggressively asserted after the match that his shot was on target hence the goal going down in the record books to him.
It's the end of the game for injured Jonny Wild.
Final score : The Fairhaven FC 0 – 3 Ward Heating FC.
A very enjoyable game to watch. The first half especially was a credit to Division 3B with lots of very good football on the deck with both sides unlucky not to score. For a new club the Fairhaven are a decent outfit and are simply short of experience in the 11 a side game.
They were unfortunate not to go into the break with the lead. A good final pass and a little more composure in front of goal was all that was required. If they can stay together as a unit when things get tough then they finish in the top half.
A great second half by Ward Heating FC dominated possession and created a hatful of chances. Five wins out of five in the league will please manager Mick Hutchinson. An all round good team performance resulting in three good goals and a clean sheet.
If they carry on with this kind of performance then promotion is a distinct possibility. An easy, enjoyable and well officiated game for referee Drinnan.
Ward Heating FC goalscorers, Martin Marlow (Left) and Graeme Hutchinson.